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Full text of "The early Indian wars of Oregon : compiled from the Oregon archives and other original sources : with muster rolls"

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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1894 by 

In the oflicc oJ the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 


Introduced by HON. WM. ARMSTRONG. 

WHEREAS the early history of the territory of Oregon is in a 
chaotic state as regards the early pioneers, those noble men and 
women who braved the perils and sufferings incident to a long 
and tedious journey over the then trackless and uninhabited des 
ert ; and whereas there still remains a full and varied record of 
the heroic deeds of those brave men and noble women, in the 
office of the secretary of state, the compilation, tabulation, and 
publication of which would redound to the honor of this patri 
otic people, worthy of adorning the brightest page of American 
history, and thereby transmit to posterity the fortitude and sacri 
fices of the men who saved this state to the United States,-Ua 
state that today is the brightest gem in the galaxy of our glori 
ous constellation ; and whereas many of those early pioneers have 
passed that bourne from whence no traveler returns, and Time has 
laid his heavy hand on the hoary heads of those that remain, let 
us join with them in erecting to their memory a monument that 
will stand in the solitude of time, beneath whose shadow nations 
may crumble, and around whose summit generations yet unborn 
may linger, by the publication of those records, now resting in 
oblivion, in the archives of the state; therefore be it 

Resolved, That the secretary of state be and he is hereby in 
structed to cause to be compiled, tabulated, and published, as far 
as is possible from the material in his possession, a complete rec 
ord of the early Indian wars of Oregon, including the wars of 
1855 and 1856, and a brief sketch of the pioneer history preceding 
such wars and connected therewith, and that he be instructed to 
expend not to exceed the sum of fifteen hundred dollars out of 
any moneys not otherwise appropriated, for the compilation and 
tabulation of such historical record, and such other information 
as will preserve the names and incidents connected with the In 
dian wars of Oregon ; such historical work to be compiled under 
his direction. 

Be it further resolved, That the unexpended balance, if any, 
shall be returned to the state treasury. The secretary of state is 
hereby appointed custodian of such book when published, and he 
is hereby authorized and directed to sell such book at the actual 
cost of compilation and publication, and to report to the legisla- 



tive assembly of 1893 the amount of money received by him as 
the proceeds of such sales. The secretary of state is further in 
structed to compile statements showing services of the soldiers of 
the Indian wars of Oregon, and to publish the same in pamphlet 
form for distribution among the veterans of said wars. 

Adopted by the house, February 18, 1891. 

T. T. GEEB, 
Speaker of the House. 

Concurred in by the senate, February 19, 1891. 

President of the Senate. 


HAVING been entrusted by the legislature of Oregon 
with the duty of recording the history of the early wars 
of the white race with the Indians of the northwest, it 
appeared to me eminently proper to set forth the causes 
in detail which led to those race conflicts. In doing 
this I have endeavored to "nothing extenuate, nor set 
down aught in malice," but rather to give a philosoph 
ical view of the events recorded. This is the more im 
portant because fiction and sentimentalism on one hand, 
and vengeful hatred on the other, have perverted the 
truth of history. 

The Indian is a wild man; it would only be a fact of 
evolution to call him a wild animal on his way to be a 
man, provided the proper environments were furnished 
him. While the instincts and perceptions are acute, the 
ethical part of him is undeveloped, and his exhibitions 
of a moral nature are whimsical and without motive. 
Brought into contact with white men. whether of the 
lowest or of the highest, he is always at a disadvantage 
which is irritating, and subject to temptations which are 
dangerous. On the other hand, the white man is sub 
ject to the more subtle temptation to abuse his superi 
ority for selfish purposes; he being in selfishness often 
but little, if at all, removed from the wild man. 

One point to be brought out in these pages is the ac 
countability of the government in our Indian wars, and 



its indebtedness to the pioneers of every part of the 
country: first, in inviting settlement, and then in not 
properly protecting settlers. The policy of the govern 
ment for a hundred years has been to throw out a 
vanguard of immigration, and when these had fallen 
victims to savage cupidity or hatred, to follow with a 
tardy army and "punish" what it should have pre 
vented. The Spaniards did better than this, for they 
sent a garrison out with every colony and "reduced" 
the native population with comparatively little blood 

If this record of the first ten years of Indian war 
fare in Oregon presents this subject fairly to the reader, 
it will have achieved the purpose for which it was writ 

SALEM, July 30, 1893. 








































DEBT __ 227 














INDIANS... __ 371 








GANIZED ___ _ 423 










FOR more than twenty years before the first immigrant 
party set out for Oregon, the government had been point 
ing out to the people of the United States the prize it was 
reaching after on the shores of the Pacific. As a nation 
America was still too young for conquest, even had it been 
a part of our policy to acquire territory by force, which it 
was not. By treaties, and by expending a few millions in 
money, we obtained the transfer of French and Spanish 
titles; and by force of defensive arms had compelled Great 
Britain to surrender to us the forts she held on our lake 

But before this was accomplished, far-seeing statesmen 
had set on foot that transcontinental expedition, never 
appreciatingly eulogized in. the past, nor adequately hon 
ored with remembrance in the present the journey of 
Lewis and Clarke from the Missouri river to the Pacific, at 
the mouth of the Columbia, in 1804-5-6. It was a brave 
and a perilous undertaking, and forged one of the strong- 


est links in the chain of evidence which prevailed in the 
controversy with Great Britain concerning our title to the 
Pacific Northwest. It stimulated the first commercial 
enterprise on the coast of Oregon the Pacific Fur Com 
pany of Astor the melancholy failure of which, through 
the cowardice and treachery of his Canadian partners, 
made room for the advent of a British company. 

The ruin of the Pacific Fur Company was regarded as 
a humiliation to the country, but such was the situation 
of international politics that congress declined to inter 
fere, or subsequently to extend aid to individual enterprise 
in Oregon, and the Hudson s Bay Company, successor to 
the Northwest Company, was left in actual possession, 
while diplomacy in London and Washington carried on 
the contest for mastery year after year, with varying 
prospects of success. 

The war of the Revolution had found Americans a 
nation of politicians, and left them a nation of patriots, 
barring the Tory minority, of whom, after the Declaration 
of Independence, very little was heard: The doings of 
congress in the early part of the century were far more 
interesting to, and notwithstanding the lesser number of 
public prints, more studied by the people than are its acts 
in this age of daily newspapers. Each man who had in 
any way aided in the struggle for freedom felt a personal 
pride in enhancing the glory of the new republic, and a 
corresponding desire to punish its enemies or abase its 
rivals. Such was the spirit of Americanism for the first 
fifty years of the existence of the United States. 

Well aware of the national temper, statesmen made use 
of it in the movement to establish the title to the territory 
in dispute on the Pacific coast. They took care to inform 
themselves of the private enterprises of the citizens in the 
Northwest, the most notable of which, as occurring so soon 
after Lewis and Clarke s expedition, was the adventure of 
Major Henry, who led a fur-hunting party to the head 
waters of therh&$rt in 1808. lie confined his suhse- 


quent operations, however, to the headwaters of the $$& 
$(fd)WC where his name is preserved in Henry s Fork of 
that river. 

As early as 1820, Floyd, member of congress from Vir 
ginia, caused inquiry to be made "into the situation of the 
settlements on the Pacific ocean," having reference to 
Astoria, which had been restored to us after the war of 
1812-15, and to the settlements of the British fur compa 
nies in this region. 

Among the matter brought to light by this inquiry was 
an account in 1823 of the expedition of W. H. Ashley in 
the previous year. Encouraged by indications of govern 
ment support, Ashley, in 1822, pushed a trading party as 
far west as the South Pass. In 1823 he took a wagon 
train to Green river, repeating his venture for several sea 
sons, and reporting to the government all the information 
obtained in his several expeditions. Other companies 
succeeded him, and came, into conflict with the Hudson s 
Bay Company on the west side of the Rocky mountains; 
their explorations being watched with interest by those 
having the future of the United States under consideration. 

Floyd, in 1821, presented a report to congress contain 
ing all the information gathered from the explorations of 
traders and adventurers, introducing a bill at the same time 
authorizing the president to occupy the Oregon territory, 
extinguish the Indian title, and provide a government, 
occupation meaning defenses at the mouth of the Colum 
bia, and military settlements at intervals along the route 
to the Columbia. This bill was discussed and amended 
from session to session, the military features being gradually 
eliminated as the temper of the nation changed, dona 
tions of land being offered to settlers as an inducement to 
emigration. Already, in 1822, petitions began to flow in 
from associations in different states, both north and south, 
memorializing congress to pass Floyd s bill, and books and 
pamphlets on the boundary question between Great Britain 
and the United States abounded, written not only, or not so 


much by statesmen, as by politicians among the people. 
Correspondence between the diplomats of both nations 
may have been, if not aided, at least rendered more cau 
tious by the arguments put forth so freely on every hand. 
Congress, it must be conceded, by admitting bills promoting 
emigration to a territory in dispute while negotiations were 
still pending, violated the international code of fair deal 
ing; but not more, it was argued, than Great Britain, who 
peopled it with traders, and despoiled it of its natural 
wealth of furs, giving us occasion to act upon the premise 
that " all is fair in love and war." The congressional con 
science was satisfied by refraining from passing the bills 
under discussion, while the utterances put forth in speeches, 
often full of erroneous statements, served to keep the na 
tional spirit in a menacing attitude toward our British 
rival. Joint occupation, where each nation looked upon 
the other as an intruder, was a wholly unsatisfactory con 
dition, and fostered in the people a feeling of defiance 
towards the rival power never quite appeased since the 
late war. In the meantime it occurred to religious socie 
ties to send missionaries to teach the Indians of Oregon, 
about whom very favorable statements were made by the 
fur companies dealing with them concerning their natural 
tendencies towards religion. The appearance in St. Louis 
of four Flatheads, proteges of one of the companies, in 
1832, and their demand for teachers, was the alleged cause 
of the immediate action of the Methodist church, and 
the subsequent action of the Presbyterian and Catholic 
churches, in establishing missions in Oregon. 

That these young chiefs should have traveled two 
thousand miles in search of spiritual teachers was deemed 
so much more remarkable than that the St. Louis company 
should have traveled the same distance in search of furs, 
that they were at once elevated into something, if not 
superhuman, at least greatly superbarbarian in character, 
and the country rang with the exploit. Those who gave 
the story its wonderful wings might have remembered that 


in the history of all invasions or explorations of new 
countries, the invaders have brought back with them some 
best specimens of the native people to show in evidence of 
something they wished to prove. But in this instance it 
was not unnatural that these Indians, perceiving that 
white men were possessed of knowledge and property above 
anything ever imagined among themselves, should have 
desired to obtain a clue to this superiority; nor, since all 
primitive people are superstitious, with a great awe of 
spiritual influences, that they should have inquired con 
cerning the God of the white men, and desired to be taught 
his ways with his creatures. It was a day of great mission 
ary enterprises, and the call of the Flatheads was quickly 
responded to by the organization of a mission party of five 
men two preachers, Jason and Daniel Lee, from Stan- 
stead, Canada, and later of Wilbrahoam seminary; and two 
laymen, Cyrus Shepard of Lynn, Massachusetts, and Philip 
L. Edwards of Richmond, Missouri; with, as a helper, 
Courtney M. Walker of the same place, engaged for one 
year. These, in the spring of 1834, joined a fur-hunting 
expedition under Nathaniel J. Wyeth bound for the Colum 
bia river. In addition, two naturalists Townsend and 
Nuttall were attached to Wyeth s party, and all these, 
although > keeping up separate organizations, traveled 
together with the St. Louis Fur Company under William 
Sublette, the joint expedition numbering seventy men, with 
two hundred and fifty horses, and a small herd of cattle. 

The missionaries did not, as had been expected, tarry 
among the Indians upon the upper Columbia. Perhaps 
the American fur companies who traded with them did 
not desire it; at all events they came with Wyeth to the 
lower Columbia, and were received in an unexpectedly 
friendly fashion by the British company whose head 
quarters were at Vancouver, and who also politely but 
determinedly made Oregon very uncomfortable for the 
Yankee trader, who soon sold out to them and retreated 
from the field. 


Not so the missionaries, who selected ti site for their 
habitation in the fertile Wallamet valley, and began 
teaching as best they could a nomadic race, already infected 
with the poison of scrofula. The outcome was what might 
have been expected. They soon had, to use their own 
language, "more children in the graveyard than in the 
schoolroom"; for Indian youth, accustomed to freedom of 
movement, of air, and a certain diet, could not long with 
stand the influence of unaccustomed labor, confinement in 
a crowded house, and different forms of food. Besides, 
there was sickness among teachers as well as children, 
induced by the malaria arising from turning up the rich 
soil of the valley in opening the mission farm. In place 
of the Indians, however, a few white adventurers found 
their way to the valley. 

Under these circumstances what should be done? Go 
back whence they came and abandon their undertaking? 
No; indeed no! Lee had sent home such a report in the 
beginning as caused the church to reenforce him in the 
third year with a fuller complement of teachers women 
a physician, and mechanics, who came by sea. Other 
reports were sent home of the beauty and fertility of the 
country, and the arbitrary demeanor of the British resi 
dents towards American citizens, which found .their way 
to Washington. Then came a government agent in the 
character of a private citizen to confirm these rumors, who 
encouraged the missionaries to found a colony, and helped 
them to procure cattle from California to stock the grassy 
plains of the Wallamet. Following Slacum s report to the 
government was a petition gotten up among the missiona 
ries, who had attached to their colony the few Americans 
led by adventure into the country, all of whom signed the 
petition for protection from the tyranny of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, which, it was contended, had no rights the 
United States was bound to respect on the south side of 
the Columbia, where its dependents had already seized 
upon a large tract of fertile prairie. So well did they pre- 


sent this argument to the Canadians themselves, that many 
of them in fear of losing their farms signed the petition to 
have the protection of the United States government ex 
tended over them. 

So much did Jason Lee have at heart the colonial 
scheme that in the spring of 1838 he returned to the 
states overland, carrying this memorial; and so did he 
prevail both with the church and members of the cabinet 
that in 1840 a third reinforcement and a shipload of goods 
and farming implements arrived for the mission settle 
ments, which were scattered from The Dalles to the mouth 
of the Columbia, but which as missions were soon after 
abandoned, the incumbents frankly owning the hopeless 
ness of the missionary cause with the native population 
of western Oregon. 

In 1840 the missionaries again petitioned congress to 
establish a territorial government in Oregon. The mission 
colony received this year a reinforcement of over fifty 
persons, swelling the whole number to seventy, and was 
assisted by the government an open secret then, and 
admitted freely at a later period. Every one who could 
be induced to go to Oregon at that time was encouraged, 
if necessary, by financial aid from the contingent fund; 
both parties to the boundary controversy feeling that 
occupation was the argument which must ultimately 
settle the vexed question. 

To offset the mission colony the Hudson s Bay Company 
introduced in 1841 about an equal number of Red-river 
people to the Puget Sound region, many of whom subse 
quently settled south of the Columbia. This year also 
Oregon was visited by the United States exploring expedi 
tion under Commodore Wilkes, who inspected the Ameri 
can settlements, and was consulted by the colonists with 
regard to organizing a provisional government; a scheme 
he disapproved as unnecessary. In the autumn there 
arrived overland a small company of actual settlers the 
first low wash of the wave of immigration which touched 


the shore of the Pacific Northwest, which was neither of 
the missionary or adventurer classes, but men with 
families. 1 

To such straits were the friends of Oregon in Washing 
ton reduced about this time by the condition of our 
international affairs, that in the spring of 1842 John G. 
Spencer, the then secretary of war, found it necessary to 
invite Dr. Elijah White, the first physician of the Metho 
dist mission, who had returned to his home in Ithica, New 
York, to come to Washington to answer certain questions; 
amongst others if he felt competent to pilot an emigration 
to Oregon that year. For notwithstanding the great 
amount of writing and public speaking on the Pacific 
territory claimed by us, and the prospect of the passage of 
a very favorable land bill in charge of Dr. Linn, senator 
from Missouri, who had taken up the work suspended by 
Floyd s retirement from congress, no important movement 
of the people in the direction of Oregon had yet been 
made. The people were waiting for the Linn bill to be 
come a law; and congress was waiting for an emigration 
movement to justify such a law ; for to legislate for Oregon 
while our northern boundary was unsettled might compli 
cate international affairs. Hence the appeal to White, 
and the offer of a commission from the government. 

White was of that happy-go-lucky temperament that 
nothing ever dismayed not even the reproaches of his 
own conscience and although he had never crossed the 
continent, he knew those who had, and felt himself equal 
to the emergency. He therefore immediately set about 
the labor of drumming up a company, for it was January, 
and he must start by the middle of May. His pay as 
Indian agent was only seven hundred and fifty dollars a 
year, with the promise of double that amount when the 
land bill became a law, and permission to draw upon the 

1 It should perhaps be explained that these immigrants started for California in 
Bidwell s company, but turned off at Fort Hall and came to Oregon. They finally 
went to California with Wilkes overland expedition, as did also Joel P. Walker and 
his family, who arrived in Oregon in 1840. 


government for funds to meet necessary expenses. Pocket 
ing his commission, which really amounted to nothing 
except as a sop to the colonists to keep them loyal and 
hopeful, he proceeded westward to St. Louis, lecturing by 
the way, and writing such articles for the newspapers as 
was calculated to engage the attention of those persons 
already half minded to go to Oregon. In this way he 
drew together the several small parties which constituted 
the immigration of 1842, a movement more important than 
at first appeared, the fame of it in the states encouraging 
the ten times larger immigration which followed in 1843. 
The effect of it on the colony also, together with the news 
he brought directly from Washington of the probable 
early passage of Linn s land bill, and the treaty in contem 
plation by which they expected the boundary would be 
defined, was to raise in their breasts happy anticipations 
of a local government sanctioned and supported by the 
strong arm of their common country. 

White s party consisted of one hundred and twelve per 
sons, fifty-two of whom were able-bodied men, and ten of 
whom had families. To these were added, en route, several 
mountain men and adventurers, bringing the number up 
to one hundred and thirty-seven. They traveled with a 
train of eighteen Pennsylvania wagons, and a long pro 
cession of horses, pack mules and cattle, and were the first 
openly avowed immigration of settlers to Oregon. The 
wagons and cattle were left at Forts Laramie and Hall, 
the remainder of the journey being performed with only 
pack animals a mistake due to Dr. White s ignorance of 
the country, he having traveled the sea route to and from 
Oregon. Accredited to this country as United States sub- 
Indian agent and government spy, he professed to believe 
himself the authorized governor of Oregon, although his 
commission was merely a verbal one, and its powers unde 
fined. The colony, however, ignored his pretensions, ex 
cept in so far as related to the office of United States 
Indian agent. 


Thus far no greater trials had befallen the Oregon colony 
than those which are common to border life. Indeed, they 
had been spared the great calamity of most border com 
munities Indian warfare. For this immunity there were 
two principal reasons: the first, that the nations of the 
whole country west of the Rocky mountains were in a 
state of semi-vassalage to the Hudson s Bay Company, 
which required them to live in peace, and was generally 
able to control them; the second, that the Indians of the 
lower Columbia and Wallamet valleys were so weakened 
by disease as to have lost their warlike character. That 
there were strong and hostile tribes to the south, east, and 
north, among whom even the powerful British company 
was forced to live in forts, was true, but they usually con 
fined their hostilities to strangers passing through their 
country, and did not go abroad to attack others unless 
they had some injury, real or imagined, to avenge. Thus, 
although sometimes alarmed by insignificant quarrels 
amongst them, occasioned by theft or by indulgence in 
strong drink furnished by Americans to their shame be 
it said the Indians in the vicinity of the missions were, 
if worthless, at least peaceable. 

To preserve this peace the fur company and the mis 
sionaries united in the purchase and destruction of a dis 
tillery and organized a temperance society, which was 
joined by a majority of the inhabitants irrespective of 
nationality, and to this influence without doubt was owing 
the immunity from Indian warfare enjoyed by the earliest 
settlers of the Wallamet valley. There were .not lacking, 
however, examples of savage manners sufficiently brutal 
and explicit to cause occasional shudderings among the 
handful of white intruders in their midst. Hardly was the 
mission established in the Wallamet valley when the bach 
elor housekeepers were startled by the appearance of a 
large and powerful white man, ill-clad, and accompanied 
by an Indian woman, descending the river on a raft, who 
landed and solicited succor. It proved to be John Turner, 


a man afterwards famed among the settlers fur qualities 
not thought necessary to Christian endeavor, though he 
counted as an American, and no one esteemed his enor 
mous strength as worthless in a young community sur 
rounded by possible dangers. 

Turner had a story to relate which engaged the sympa 
thies of his entertainers. This was not his first appearance 
in Oregon. Five years previous he had been a member of 
a party under Jedediah Smith of the Rocky Mountain 
Fur Company, who was approaching the Wallarnet valley 
via the coast route from California, when at the crossing 
of the Umpqua near where Scottsburg now stands, while 
looking for a fording place for the pack animals, the party 
was attacked and nine men out of thirteen killed, Smith 
losing twenty thousand dollars worth of furs and all his 
horses and other property. Smith himself escaped with 
one man, being on a raft in the river when the attack on 
the camp was made, and reached Fort Vancouver in a suf 
fering condition, where he wintered, being kindly cared 
for by the Hudson s Bay Company. A strong party was 
sent by the company to punish the Umpquas and retake 
the furs, which the company purchased, sending Smith 
back to the Rocky mountains after his associates had de 
spaired of ever seeing him again. 

Of two other men who escaped, Turner was one. He 
defended himself with a burning poplar stick snatched 
from the fire, his enormous strength enabling him to fell 
his assailants as he retreated, until finally he eluded them, 
fleeing to the mountains alone, and reaching Vancouver 
in a wretched state during the winter. The fourth man, 
named Black, also gained that asylum by the aid of some 
friendly Indians whom he met further north. 

Turner s second adventure in entering Oregon was with 
the Indians at the crossing of Rogue river, and was simi 
lar to the first. The party consisted of eight men, four of 
whom were killed. Turner s arrival at the mission was 
the occasion of great excitement, and the appearance of 


others was anxiously looked for. After several days 
George Gay, and William J. Bailey, who became promi 
nent among the first settlers of Oregon, were discovered 
on the bank of the Wallamet, opposite the mission, con 
templating it with an earnest attention, as we may readily 
understand. Finally one of them, Bailey, plunged in and 
attempted to swim across, but being weak from wounds 
and famine, was about to perish in the strong current, 
when his companion sprang to his rescue, sustaining him 
until a canoe put out from the opposite shore to the relief 
of both. 

Bailey was frightfully wounded. One cut extended 
through the upper lip just below the nose, and through 
the upper and lower jaws and chin, passing into the side 
of the neck, only narrowly missing the jugular vein. 
Unable from the terrible pain to properly adjust the parts, 
he had simply bound them together with a handkerchief, 
from which neglect in healing they left his face distorted 
to an unsightly degree. He was placed in the hospital at 
Vancouver, where his numerous other injuries were at 
tended to, and afterwards, being bred a surgeon, he prac 
ticed medicine and surgery among the colonists. The 
fourth man missed the settlements, and reached Wyeth s 
fort on Sauve s island, more dead than alive, and was 
kindly cared for. 

When the cattle company was sent to California to pur 
chase stock for the mission and settlers in 1837, Ewing 
Young, a prominent American, was placed in command, 
and P. L. Edwards of the mission made treasurer. Tur 
ner, Gay, and Bailey were of the company, and as they 
approached the scene of their loss and suffering of two 
years before, with the precious herd, it became evident 
there would be trouble. The Indians would endeavor to 
secure some of the cattle; but even if thev did not, Turner, 
Gay, and Bailey were longing for vengeance, and uttering 
threats against the Rogue river Indians. Four days before 
reaching Rogue river, Gay and Bailey shot an Indian who 


entered their camp, and threatened another one, a mere 

The only justification offered was that they had before 
suffered by allowing Indians to approach them in camp. 
But the act was none the less imprudent as it was im 
moral; for it invited retaliation, and compelled Young to 
double the guard and to use extreme caution in passing 
points where an ambush was possible. On reaching the 
locality made memorable by the attack on their party in 
1835, they were assailed by a cloud of arrows discharged 
upon them with deafening yells. Young s horse was shot 
twice, and Gay was again wounded. The guns of the 
white men were, however, more than a match for Indian 
arrows; and after a skirmish the savages retired to trouble 
them no more. The truth of history requires that the 
brutal act, of the superior race shall be recorded as well as 
those of the inferior, as by them we are able to form our 
judgment of both. 

In March, 1838, Jason Lee and Gustavus Hines made 
an excursion to the Umpqua valley in the vicinity of one 
of the forts of the Hudson s Bay Company in charge of 
one Gagnier, with a view to a mission in that quarter; but 
found the natives so wild and threatening in their disposi 
tion that despite the attractions of the country for coloni 
zation they gave an adverse report. Mr. Hines, in his 
History of Oregon, relates that Mr. Lee had brought a 
fowling-piece with him, and a patent shot pouch. This 
latter thing alarmed the chief, who happened to be at the 
fort, and he informed his people that Lee had brought 
medicine in a bag which he wore around his neck with 
which he intended to kill them all off. Gagnier sent his 
Umpqua wife with the missionaries to explain matters to 
the Indians, who with customary readiness avowed their 
intention to become Christians at once. Appearances were, 
however, so much against them that no efforts were made 
in that direction; and subsequent events justified this 
unfavorable judgment. 


Trouble was sometimes had with the Indians at The 
Dalles, who were a roguish and impertinent set of rascals, 
playing thieving tricks upon persons having to pass their 
way, and exacting double pay for any services when they 
had made these services indispensable by their own acts; 
but so far they had been held in check by the influence of 
the resident fur company. 

It was among these that Daniel Lee and H. K. W. Per 
kins attempted missionary work in 1838, which they con 
tinued with little success for four or five years. At one 
time they sent east glowing accounts of congregations of 
several hundred Indians and numerous conversions. But 
they had not made allowance for the shrewdness of the 
savage, nor for his cupidity and literalness. When Per 
kins was solicited by one of his neophytes for a coat, he 
said to him, "You must work and earn one"; whereupon 
the innocent replied, "You told me if I became converted 
and prayed for what I wanted I should get it. If it is 
work only that will bring a coat, I can get one any time 
of the Hudson s Bay Company." They often demanded 
pay for praying, or on receiving some great favor de 
clared their hearts were full of pray." It did not take 
them long to discover that supplication was not always 
rewarded with their heart s desire in other matters. On 
the death of a chief, one of Lee and Perkins converts 
asked sorrowfully, "What is the good of prayer? Our 
chief prayed, and now he is dead?" Lee himself was 
forced to purchase immunity from theft by valuable gifts. 
Refusing to pay an indemnity for a boy who died after 
being in his service, the mission horses were stolen. They 
resented not being allowed to avenge the murder of their 
relatives, and put on airs of equality with their teachers, 
demanding a visit of ceremony from the superintendent, 
such as the missionaries received. 

Such conduct would not be permitted by the officers of 
the Hudson s Bay Company, and the Indians judged the 
missionaries accordingly. That there was danger in it the 
missionaries saw, but knew no way, as peace men, to avert it. 


W. W. Kone and J. H. Frost of the latest Methodist re- 
enforcement were sent to the mouth of the Columbia, and 
settled on the Clatsop plains. Here the degradation of the 
natives was such that the spirits of the missionaries re 
volted. It was bad enough at The Dalles, where Mrs. 
Perkins had interfered to prevent an Indian boy slave 
from being bound to the corpse of his master, to die of 
horror, in order that he might accompany the chief to the 
spirit world memelose illahee. But at Clatsop the Indians 
were, in addition to the degradation of superstitions, 
utterly corrupted. Frost relates that the health of the 
people was destroyed by syphilis, and their number rapidly 
decreasing. In addition, infanticide was common. When 
Mrs. Frost asked the Indian women why they killed their 
children, they answered that they could not take care of 
them and perform besides all the labor exacted of them 
by their husbands, who beat them if they failed. Like 
the interior tribes, they were ready enough to be converted 
if there was anything to be gained by it, and their excit 
able natures found relief in the exercises of an animated 
prayer meeting, with singing, of which they were fond ; as 
their ill-clad and ill-fed bodies found comfort in the forced 
hospitality of the mission house, the floor of which was 
often at night covered with the poor wretches. 

These Indians were not much feared. It was true they 
sometimes committed a murder, but so do white men; and 
the crime was promptly punished in their case by the fur 
company. Had they not been held in dread of hanging, 
it might have been worse for their teachers. 

In 1842 a mission site selected in the vicinity of Puget 
Sound and Fort Nisqualiy the previous year, was aban 
doned, and the missionary, J. P. Richmond, returned east. 
The Indians in the region were more warlike than those 
on the Columbia, but the reason given for leaving the 
country was that it was not fit for farming. 

From all these facts, selected only to show the condition 
of Oregon west of the Cascades when the first immigration 
arrived, the following conclusions may be drawn: 


First. That the United States, while refraining from 
openly violating treaty obligations, was encouraging the 
people of the older communities to possess themselves of 
the Oregon territory, and hold it for the government, or at 
least to maintain the balance of power between itself and 
the English government. 

Second. That the reports sent at every opportunity by 
missionaries in western Oregon served to keep up that 
interest among the people first awakened in congress by 
discussions of the boundary question ; that their presence 
in Oregon enabled agents of the government to aid colon 
ization; and that the government did secretly aid the 
settlement of the country through the missions of western 

Third. That the position of the mission settlements but 
for the presence of the powerful British fur company would 
have been most dangerous, and have required the estab 
lishment of military stations in various parts of the country; 
and that in its own interest the Hudson s Bay Company 
must have protected the American settlers in order to keep 
the Indians under control. 

Fourth. That the missionaries of western Oregon were 
not successful as religious teachers ; but were not averse to 
becoming settlers, and were active in keeping alive the 
rivalry between the two governments by frequently memo 
rializing congress upon what they named the aggressions 
of the Hudson s Bay Company; and by setting forth their 
own loyalty to the government of the United States, and 
their desire to have it extended over them. 

Fifth. That the arrival of White s party marked the 
close of active missionary effort, and inaugurated that of 
open colonization by the people of the United States; 
hence, that to the Methodist missionaries and their friends 
in Washington and elsewhere was due the Americanization 
of the Wallamet valley, and the inaugural movement 
towards a provisional government in Oregon, with all 
that it implied. 



BESIDES the Methodist missions, there were north of the 
Columbia river and east of the Cascades mountains several 
Presbyterian missions, founded in 1836, 1837, and 1838. 
These were under the superintendency of Dr. Marcus 
Whitman, and supported by the American board of com 
missioners for foreign missions. Dr. Whitman was settled 
among the Cayuses in the Walla Walla valley, twenty-five 
miles from Fort Walla Walla of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany. Rev. H. H. Spalding was stationed among the Nez 
Perces, eighty miles east of the superintendent, on the 
Clearwater river, at a place called Lapwai; and a third 
station on a branch of the Spokane river, about forty 
miles from Fort Colville of the Hudson s Bay Company, 
was in charge of Elkanah Walker and Gushing Eells, who 
had charge of the Spokane Indians. A fourth station was 
selected among the upper Nez Perces, about sixty miles 
northeast of Lapwai, which was put in charge of A. B. 
Smith. Each of these missionaries had a wife, who assisted 
him in teaching. There was, besides, a lay member, also 
married, attached to the missions from the first >W. H. 
Gray, whose work on the early history of Oregon is well 
known; also an unmarried man, Cornelius Rogers; and 


from time to time several independent missionaries gave 
temporary aid to these widely scattered missions. 

Unlike the Methodists, the Presbyterians abstained from 
politics, and had no complaints to make to the home gov 
ernment of the tyranny and aggressions of the Hudson s 
Bay Company; or, if they ever felt in any way aggrieved, 
it does not appear in their correspondence with the home 
board. They had a different class of Indians to deal with 
from those in the Wallamet and lower Columbia valleys 
more intelligent, more imperious, and for both these rea- 

Isons, more dangerous as well as more interesting. To keep 
the peace with the Cayuses had on some occasions required 
all the tact and influence of the fur company. 

Allied to them were the Walla Wallas and the Nez 
Perces, the latter being a large and powerful tribe, of a 
better temper than their more southern relatives, who 
boasted of their compact of friendship with Lewis and 
Clarke, and of having always kept it. 

In 1835 Rev. Samuel Parker of Ithaca, New York, and 
Dr. Marcus Whitman traveled together to the Rocky 
mountains, escorted by the American Fur Company, where, 
meeting the Flatheads and Nez Perces, they became con 
vinced of their desire for teachers, and Whitman returned 
to the states to bring out assistants, only finding, however, 
Miss Narcissa Prentiss of Prattsburg, New York, whom he 
.married, Mr. and Mrs. Spalding, and Mr. Gray, who could 
be induced to join him at that time, and who journeyed 
with him to the Columbia river in 1836, where they were 
received literally with open arms 1 by the gentlemen of the 
Hudson s Bay Company at Fort Walla Walla and Fort 
Vancouver, their unconscious heroism in undertaking a 
land journey of thousands of miles, in company with 
mountain men, to live among savages in order to teach 
them, being appreciated by these gentlemen as it was not 
at that^time by the missionaries themselves. 

1 Mrs. Whitman wrote her mother that Mr. Pambrun, then in charge of Fort 
Walla Walla, lifted her from her saddle with the tenderness of a father. 


Before proceeding with this history, it might be well to 
inquire into the characteristics of the people concerned in 
it previous to the introduction of Protestantism among 
them, because it would be unjust to both parties to rep 
resent the Indians as in a wholly untaught state when the 
missionaries of the Presbyterian church came among them. 
On the contrary they had what might be called a national 

Recent writers have seldom made sufficient distinction 
between the Flatheads and the Nez Perces. From Lewis 
and Clarke we learn that they were originally the same 
people, although their dialect had come to differ, as 
well as their habits. The Flatheads lived in the Bitter 
Root valley, and occupied the country northwest and 
westward to the Blackfoot river. Their territory shaded 
off into the Nez Perces country, and they very much 
resembled the upper Nez Perces. Both received stran 
gers cordially, when satisfied they were not foes; but 
while the Flatheads were brave, determined, and honest, 
the Nez Percys were of a weaker character, and would 
steal and beg. In dress, they resembled each other. The 
men wore buffalo or elk-skin robes, ornamented with beads. 
Bits of sea shells, chiefly mother of pearl, were worn at 
tached to an otter-skin collar, and hung in the hair, which 
was plaited in two braids falling in front. They also wore 
feathers in the hair, and used paint .of several colors on 
their persons. The women wore a skirt of ibex-skin 
reaching to their ankles, and festooned with shells and 
other ornaments, but did not wear ornaments on the head. 
As to food, the Nez Perces were very poor, and very much 
disinclined to part with a morsel. Nevertheless, such was 
their love of ornaments, that by selling the buttons off 
their coats, empty medicine phials, and empty boxes, the 
first explorers were able to purchase a scanty supply of 
provisions from them. 

Lewis and Clarke, on coming among the Cayuses, found 
them famishing, so that they greedily picked the bones 


and ate the refuse meat thrown away by Lewis and Clarke s 
party. They were also despicable beggars. Captain Bonne- 
ville, of a later date, relates an anecdote of being enter 
tained by a Cay use chief, who presented him with a 
handsome horse, for which he returned a rifle, thinking 
the chief well paid. But the donor of the horse brought 
his wrinkled old wife with, "This is my wife she is a 
good wife I love her very much she loves the horse a 
great deal will cry to lose him I do not know how I 
shall comfort her that makes my heart sore." The cap 
tain remembered some ear-bobs, and made the old dame 
young with delight. The chief then brought his son, "A 
very good son a great horseman he took care of the 
fine horse he loves him like a brother his heart will 
be heavy when he leaves the camp." Again the captain 
bethought himself of a hatchet to reward the youth s vir 
tues. Then the chief, "This rifle shall be my great medi 
cine I will hug it to my heart, and love it for the sake of 
my friend, the bald-headed chief. But a rifle by itself is 
dumb I cannot make it speak. If I had a little powder 
and ball I would take it out with me, and would now and 
then shoot a deer; and when I brought it home to my 
happy family I would say, This was killed by the rifle of 
my friend, the bald-headed chief, to whom I gave that fine 
horse. " It is unnecessary to add that the captain, after 
handing over powder and ball, fled. 

Speaking of the moral characteristics of the Flatheads 
and ISIez Perces, Bonneville says that they exhibited strong 
and peculiar feelings of natural religion, and that it was 
"not a mere superstitious fear like that of most savages 
they evince abstract notions of morality, a deep reverence 
for an over-ruling spirit, and a respect for the rights of 
their fellow men. They (the Flatheads) hold that the 
Great Spirit is displeased with all nations who wantonly 
engage in war; they abstain from all aggressive hostilities. 
But though, thus unoffending in their policy, they are 
called upon continually to wage defensive warfare, espe- 


cially with the Blackfeet, with whom, in the course of their 
hunting expeditions, they coine in frequent collision, and 
have desperate battles. Their conduct as warriors is with 
out fear or reproach, and they never can be driven to 
abandon their hunting grounds." He added that they 
believed in dreams, charms, and a charmed life. 

In spite of their opposition to wanton warfare, they were 
not averse to some practice in the art of war. "War," 
they said, "is -a bloody business, and full of evil, but it 
keeps the eyes of the chiefs always open, and makes the 
limbs of the young men strong and supple. In war, every 
one is on the alert. If we see a trail we know it must be 
an enemy; if the Blackfeet come to us we know it is for 
war, and we are ready. Peace, on the other hand, sounds 
no alarm; the eyes of the chiefs are closed in sleep, and 
the young men are sleek and lazy. The horses stray into 
the mountains; the women and their little babes go about 
alone. But the heart of a Blackfoot is a lie, and his tongue 
is a trap. If he says peace, it is to deceive. He comes as 
a brother: he smokes his pipe with us; but when he sees 
us weak and off our guard, he will slay and steal. We 
will have no such peace; let there be war!" 

Wyeth gave the Flatheads equal, or even greater praise, 
saying he had never known an instance of theft among 
them, neither quarreling nor lying; that they were brave 
when put to the test, and more than a match for the 
Blackfeet. What is here said of the moral character of 
the Flatheads, applied, with the exception already made, 
to the Nez Perces; especially to the upper division of that 
tribe. Concerning the religious feeling of these Indians, 
the early American traders remarked upon their observ 
ance of the Sabbath, to which Bonneville adds: "We must 
observe, however, in qualification of the sanctity of the 
Sabbath in the wilderness, that these tribes, who are all 
ardently addicted to gambling and horse-racing, make 
Sunday a peculiar day for recreations of this kind, not 
deeming them in any way out of season." 


This Sabbath observance, and other religious forms 
greatly surprised travelers among these tribes, namely, the 
Flatheads, Nez Perces, and Cay uses. Dr. Parker found in 
it a mystery also. But the explanation is simple. Says 
Bonneville: " Mr. Pambrun informed me that he had been 
at some pains to introduce the Christian religion, in the 
Roman Catholic form, among them, where it had evidently 
taken root, but had become altered and modified to suit 
their peculiar habits of thought, and motives of action, 
retaining, however, the principal points of faith, and its 
entire precepts of morality. The same gentleman had 
given to them a code of laws, to which they conformed 
with scrupulous fidelity. Polygamy, which once prevailed 
among them to a great extent, was now rarely indulged in. 
All the crimes denounced by the Christian faith met with 
severe punishment. Even theft, so venial a crime among 
the Indians, had recently been punished with hanging, by 
sentence of a chief." 

Bonneville, speaking of the Cayuses, says: "They will 
not raise their camp on that day, unless in extreme cases 
of danger or hunger; neither will they hunt, nor fish, nor 
trade, nor perform any kind of labor on that day. A part 
of it is passed in prayer and religious ceremonies. Some 
chief, who is at the same time what is called a medicine 
man, assembles the community. After invoking blessings 
from the Deity, he addresses the assemblage, exhorting 
them to good conduct; to be diligent in providing for 
their families; to abstain from lying and stealing; to avoid 
quarreling or cheating in their play, and to be just and 
hospitable to all strangers who may be among them. 
Prayers and exhortations are also made early in the morn 
ing on week days. 2 Sometimes all this is done by the 
chief from horseback, moving slowly about the camp with 
his hat on, and uttering his exhortations with aloud voice. 

-Farnham, in his Travels, speaks admiringly of these morning devotions as he 
saw them practiced near Whitman s station in 1839; but he took it for granted that 
it came from the teachings of the missionaries at that station. 


On all occasions the bystanders listen with profound atten 
tion, and at the end of every sentence respond one word in 
unison, apparently equivalent to an amen. While these 
prayers or exhortations are going on, every employment in 
the camp is suspended. If an Indian is riding by the 
place, he dismounts, holds his horse, and attends with 
reverence until all is done. When the chief has finished 
his prayer or exhortation, he says I have done/ upon 
which there is a general exclamation in unison." He 
says further: "Besides Sunday, they observe all the car 
dinal holidays of the Roman Catholic church," but that 
with them they mixed some of their pagan ceremonials, 
such as dancing and singing. 

Townsend, in his Narrative, expresses much interest in 
these Indians on account of their desire for instruction in 
religious matters, and evidently is at a loss to discover the 
motive for to ascribe a spiritual motive to the savage 
would be childish. The greater intelligence of a few 
tribes of Indians is difficult to account for, especially when 
in contact with degenerate tribes like the Walla Wallas 
and the Indians of the Columbia. But their motive in 
adopting any innovation is the same as the white man s. 
It is because it is to his material advantage. When it- 
ceases to be that, there is danger of a too sudden and 
serious revolt. 

It was impossible that the missionaries should under 
stand at once how to deal with a people so different from 
any of whom they had any experience. For the first year 
all was smooth sailing. The Indians at Whitman s and 
Spalding s stations were pleased with the idea of becoming 
wise like their teachers. But it was not long before they 
found they had not understood each other. The mission 
aries had to work, and wanted the Indians to do so; but 
the masculine side of savagery scorns work, leaving it to 
his female relatives. The gentlemen of the Hudson s Bay 
Company did not labor. Naturally their savage serfs en 
tertained contempt for white men who condescended to 


do what servants ought to do, and were not able to make 
allowance for the poverty of missionary societies. 

An indiscreet remark of Dr. Parker s on his visit to 
them was also the occasion of much trouble. Dr. Parker, 
they said, had told them that their land should not be 
taken for nothing, but that they should be paid annually 
in goods and agricultural implements, that being "the 
American fashion." 

A year had not elapsed before a chief known as Splitted 
Lip ordered Dr. Whitman off the land he had taken to 
cultivate on the Walla Walla river, because he had not 
paid for it. In 1838, the same chief threatened the doctor 
with death should he fail to cure his wife, whom he was 
treating for some sickness. It would seem that Dr. Whit 
man thought these threats idle, or that the protection of 
the Hudson s Bay Company would suffice, for he went on 
teaching, assisted by Mrs. Whitman, and at the same time 
improving his farm. 

In the autumn of that year Gray s return from the 
states, whither he had gone to procure more workers for 
the missionary field, having with him a wife and seven 
other persons, men and women, a small company, indeed, 
was the occasion of fresh trouble. 

When Gray started for the states in 1837 he took with 
him a band of Indian horses to exchange for cattle, which 
were much needed. To aid him Mr. Spalding persuaded 
three young chiefs of the upper Nez Perces to accompany 
him, namely, Ellis, Blue Cloak, and Hat. By ,the time 
they had reached the rendezvous of the fur companies on 
Green river, their horses feet had begun to fail, and two of 
them turned back, Hat only continuing on. When Ellis 
and Blue Cloak presented themselves at Lapwai mission. 
Mr. Spalding, who was an excitable man and felt much 
anxiety for the success of the expedition, reproached the 
young chiefs severely, and declared they deserved punish 
ment for breaking their contract, and leaving Gray in the 
middle of his journey with insufficient help. 


It was the custom of the Hudson s Bay Company when 
the Indians committed any offense not amounting to a seri 
ous crime, to demand pay for it; or, if pay was not forth 
coming, to require their chiefs to have them whipped 
the culprits receiving their chastisement with little sense 
of degradation. This custom was adopted, it would seem, 
by Mr. Spalding, who assessed the delinquents a horse 
each for their breach of faith, which was refused. 

Ellis, who had a large following, was able to avoid the 
penalty imposed on him, no one venturing to arrest him. 
Blue Cloak, however, one evening appeared at prayer meet 
ing unattended, when Mr. Spalding ordered some Indian 
pupils present to take and tie him. No one obeying, at 
last a young Nez Perces chief arose in wrath, seized Blue 
Cloak, bound him, and turning to Spalding said, " Now 
whip him." "No," said Spalding, "I do not whip; I com 
mand: God does not whip, he commands." "You are a 
liar," returned the young chief indignantly. "Look at 
your picture (a water-color sketch hanging on the wall, 
designed by Mrs. Spalding to illustrate bible teachings). 
You have there painted two men, and God behind them 
with a bundle of rods to whip them. Whip him, or we 
will put you in his place and whip you." Mr. Spalding 
yielded, punished Blue Cloak, and received the horse he 
had exacted, which discipline restored quiet for a time. 

In 1838, when Gray returned from the states, and it was 
learned that Hat, the chief who had accompanied him, 
had perished, together with four other Indians, in an 
attack made upon Gray s party by the Sioux at Ash 
Hollow, a great excitement was aroused by it among the 
followers of Ellis. That chief accused Mr. Spalding of 
designing the death of all three of Gray s Nez Perces aids. 
He had the mission family at Lapwai confined in their 
house for more than a month, during which time Mr. 
Pambrun sent a messenger several times to induce the Nez 
Perces to restore them their liberty, explaining to them 
tli at Gray could not have foreseen or prevented the attack 


upon his escort, and was in no way responsible. They 
were finally persuaded to accept presents and release their 

But this was not the end of the early troubles at the 
Presbyterian missions. A. B. Smith, the year after his 
arrival with Gray s party, was sent to establish a mission 
upon Ellis land at Kamiah, east of Lapwai. To do this 
he had permission, but was forbidden to cultivate the 
land. After being at Kamiah one year, Smith made some 
preparations to till a small field, but Ellis reminded him 
that he had been warned not to do so. " Do you not 
know," he asked, "what has been told you, that you would 
be digging a hole in which you should be buried?" At 
this he desisted, but the following year made another 
attempt, and was again reminded, when he made no more 
such efforts. In 1841 he left the country for the Sandwich 
Islands, having during his residence in Oregon writlen a 
grammar of the Nez Perces language, which was printed on 
a press brought from Honolulu, together with a hymn 
book, and primers to be used in the schools. 

Why it was that Spalding was permitted to cultivate 
does not appear, unless it was that he was able to convince 
the Indians by actual test that it was good for them to be 
able to raise food, and save themselves the trouble of 
taking long journeys every summer to procure game, roots, 
and berries. At all events he seems to have been very 
successful, and his reports upon the fertility of the country 
compare well with those written at a much later period. 
He presented those whom he could induce to cultivate, 
with hoes and ploughs a present going a long way 
toward convincing an Indian that your word can be 

Mrs. Spalding was a balance wheel in the missionary 
machinery. Her quiet devotion to duty, her kindliness 
and firmness, made a real impression upon the Nez Perces, 
the women looking upon her as their true friend, whose 
wisdom the} 7 never questioned. She taught them house- 


work, sewing, spinning, and cookery, all of which they 
learned readily when they chose. 

Farnham, who visited Waiilatpu in 1839, was struck 
with admiration of the superintendent s work, both as 
teacher and farmer, and greatly impressed by the appar 
ently devotional character of the Cayuses as exhibited in 
some of the chief families, who were regular in their 
attendance upon public worship, and morning and evening 
devotions in their lodges. 

At the Spokane mission of Chemekane there was less 
improvement, and somewhat less anxiety. In 1839 one of 
the teachers at that station wrote, "The failure of this 
mission is so strongly impressed upon my mind that I feel 
it necessary to have cane in hand, and as much as one 
shoe on, ready for a move. I see nothing but the power 
of God that can save us." Yet the Spokaues were esteemed 
more tractable than the Cayuses. When the mission 
house was burned in the winter of 1839-40, they offered 
their assistance, and refrained from pillage. But not 
knowing what their course might be, the Hudson s bay 
gentlemen at Colville came down with their servants, and 
camped near, to afford their protection. 

As early as 1838 an element of discord of a nature 
different from those already mentioned, was introduced 
into the missionary life in Oregon. This was a period in 
church history, when Catholicism and Protestantism were 
in a state of active hostility to each other. The mere 
presence of a Catholic priest in the neighborhood of 
Waiilatpu was like a pestilence in the air, threatening 
the welfare of every member of the missions. The same 
feeling existed in western Oregon, with this difference 
that the natives there were so contemptible that their souls 
were not worth saving, and their bodies too insignificant 
to be feared. 

But in the upper country, inhabited by powerful and 
numerous tribes, religious antipathy and intolerance were 
likely to occasion disorders of a dangerous nature, partic- 


ularly as neither party was able conscientiously to yield 
to the other, but bound by duty to combat the contrary 
opinion with all the zeal that was in it. Dr. Whitman 
could readily see that the ceremonials of the Catholic faith 
must prove attractive to the childish minds of savages, 
who were likely to turn away from the lessons of an aus 
tere religion to the delights of bells and beads. 

Hence, when Rev. F. N. Blanchet and Rev. Modeste 
Demers came overland from Canada in 1838, making a 
brief pause at Walla Walla to hold a " mission " among the 
French Canadians, and to baptize all the natives whom 
they could reach into the holy mother church, the super- 
erintendent of the Presbyterian missions was filled with 
anxiety, and not without reason. The more ignorant peo 
ple are, the more bitter are their prejudices, and rancorous 
their animosities. A religious schism among Indians was 
therefore to be feared, and if possible avoided. 

Dr. Whitman had before him a fine example of religious 
toleration in the head of the Hudson s Bay Company, who 
received and listened to protestant missionaries of whatever 
sect visiting Vancouver, whom he also aided in various 
ways by courtesies and by contributions. He and all his 
officers and dependants were friends of Dr. Whitman. 
Pambrun, to whom they were indebted for many kind 
nesses, was a French Canadian arid a Catholic. Mr. Mc- 
Kinlay, Pambrun s successor at Fort Walla Walla, was a 
Presbyterian, and a warm friend of Dr. Whitman, but not 
more so than Pambrun. The Canadian servants of the 
company were Catholics, but they never refused friendly 
aid and neighborly kindness to the Methodists or Presby 
terians. And 3 T et Dr. Whitman was alarmed, with some 
reason we musj admit, considering that he lived ever over 
a mine of savagery that needed but a match to touch it off. 

The Catholic fathers taught their converts to say a few 
simple prayers, and gave them a picture called the " Cath 
olic Ladder," explanatory of the principal points of their 
faith; that was all. Mr. Spalding opposed to the "Catholic 


Ladder" a picture representing two roads towards heaven 
one wide, where the Pope was selling indulgences, and 
at the end of which the purchasers were seen falling head 
foremost into hell; the other so narrow that few could 
follow it, but supposed to lead to bliss. 

This now seems puerile, but in that time was thought a 
worth} 7 means of bringing savages to practice the religion 
of Jesus Christ, by Catholics and Protestants. The Pres 
byterians often argued with the Indians, as it was the 
fashion of the churches to hold doctrinal arguments among 
its members a fashion most unwisely followed among a 
people whose understandings led them to literal construc 
tions, or to strange subtleties, rather than to spiritual 

But the root of the troubles between the missionaries 
and the natives was not at any time in their religious 
differences, which was really a side issue capable of being 
turned to account, but which was never used except in 
simple competition, and which alone need never have 
endangered the peace of the country. 

The real cause of ill feeling between the Indians and 
their Protestant teachers was the continued misunder 
standing concerning the ownership of land, and the accu 
mulation of property. The promise of Dr. Parker had 
never been redeemed. No one had appeared to purchase 
the lands occupied by the missions, nor had any ships 
arrived laden with Indian goods and farming implements 
for their benefit. 

Doubtless Dr. Parker, when he made the promise, was 
thinking of the hoped for settlement of the Oregon bound 
ary question, and the speedy extinguishment of the Indian 
title to the country which would folio w,*in order that 
congress might carry out the plan of populating it by 
offering liberal donations of land to emigrants. But this 
we have seen had not taken place, while every year a few 
more Americans arrived and remained in the country, and 
without paying for their lands. 


In the meantime, the very favorable view which was 
first held by the Presbyterians of the generous character 
of the Indians had faded out. We find Spalding saying 
that "I have no evidence to suppose but a vast majority 
of them would look on with indifference and see our 
dwelling burned to the ground, and our heads severed 
from our bodies." Smith at Kamiah, and Walker and 
Eells at Chemekane thought the natives professed religion 
to secure presents, which not being forthcoming they 
were hostile; and all agreed as to their untruthfulness. 

In 1840 the Cayuses destroyed Dr. Whitman s irrigating 
ditches, and allowed their horses to damage the grain in 
the mission field. This was done out of malice, the 
Indians having been taught enough about farming to be 
perfectly aware of the mischief they were causing to the 
doctor s crops. When he angrily reproved them they 
threw mud upon him, plucked his beard, pulled his ears, 
threatened him with a gun, arid offered to strike him a 
blow with an axe, which he avoided. 

These demonstrations alarmed the doctor s friend, Mc- 
Kinlay of Fort Walla Walla, who counseled him to leave 
the country for a time at least, saying that the Indians 
would repent when they no longer had him, and want 
him back again. But he feared to abandon his place, 
which would probably be destroyed ; and the chief, Splitted 
Lip, who instigated the attack on him, dying that year, he 
hoped for relief from the persecutions he had suffered. 
Besides, he had determined, as he said, "never to show the 
white feather." 

In 1841 W. H. Gray struck an Indian boy, probably a 
well-deserved blow, and his uncle, who was the chief on 
whose lands the mission of Waiilatpu was built. Tilou- 
kaikt, a haughty and ill-tempered savage, struck Whit 
man in revenge, pulling his nose, and committing other 
outrages, which the doctor bore without any signs of fear. 
McKinlay, to punish them, refused to hire their horses as 
agreed, to take the Red-river immigrants to The Dalles, 


unless the chief and all implicated in the assault should 
beg the doctor s pardon, which they consented to do. 

Hearing of these things prevented some missionaries at 
the Sandwich Islands from joining the Oregon missions, 
and prevented the board from sending more across the 
continent. The Indian boys were mischievous and thiev 
ing, and carried off the best fruits raised in the mission 
garden, which troublesomeness inspired Gray to sicken 
them with a dose of ipecac introduced into the finest 
looking melons. The illness induced by the drug caused 
the Indians to accuse the missionaries of designing to 
poison them, and incited them to fresh acts of hostility. 

These experiences at Waiilatpu were duplicated at Lap- 
wai, where the Nez Perces pulled down Spalding s mill, 
threatened him with a gun, and offered a gross insult to 
Mrs. Spalding. These were things hard to be borne; but 
both Whitman and Spalding were determined to keep their 
hold upon the homes they had built up in the wilderness 
under so many difficulties, until such time as the govern 
ment of the United States should come to their rescue. 

Added to his other trials, Dr. Whitman was worried by 
demands from the home board that the Oregon missions 
should be made self-supporting, a thing which could not 
happen while he had so few assistants, and where there was 
no market for any productions. He could barely subsist 
his family by raising and grinding grain enough ; and by 
eating horse flesh in place of beef. He could not purchase 
groceries, clothing, machinery, nor other necessaries, and 
so he told the board and that if they wished him to turn* 
trader they must furnish him assistants and means, and 
even then wait for a market to come to him, as the Metho 
dist missionaries and Hudson s Bay Company controlled 
the trade of the country. 

To all this the board finally returned in 1842 that Dr. 
Whitman must abandon the Cayuse station and join 
Walker and Eells in the Spokane country; and Spalding 


must return to the states, leaving the ungrateful Cayuses 
and Nez Perces without teachers. 

Now, this was what these gentlemen were resolved not 
to do. From their point of view it was unwise to abandon 
good homes, at a period when it seemed most likely that 
the government was about to settle the question of the 
Oregon boundary, and immediately after of course, as they 
believed, to acquire title by treaty to the Indian lands, out 
of which the first settlers were to receive large donations. 
If only they could keep the peace a little longer! 

It was just at this painful juncture in mission affairs 
that Dr. White arrived at Waiilatpu with his immigrant 
party of 1842. He spent two days at the station, and we 
can imagine how eagerly Dr. Whitman questioned him, 
and how hopefully he heard what White had to relate, 
which confirmed his belief that if he could hold on a little 
longer he need neither abandon the Cayuses nor his home. 
If men in authority at Washington had asked White to 
start the emigration movement, and given him an office, 
the first delegated authority bestowed on any one in this 
Northwest, could he not also accomplish something for 
the country, the missions, and himself by going to Wash 
ington and Boston? If he was to do this, it must be now 
or never, for orders to vacate had been issued, and they 
must be obeyed, or a good reason given for the failure. 

He felt able, if he could see the board personally, to 
present a strong case. He could show them now, since 
immigration had begun, that Waiilatpu and Lapwai could 
be made important supply stations on the road to the 
Wallamet valley, and thus self-supporting; that fifty 
Christian families settled about him would be an example 
to the Indians, and give aid and protection to him, while 
a few more teachers among the Indians would help him 
greatly to maintain control of the native children, and 
through them of their parents. 

To politicians he would say, "Hold on to the country 
north as well as south of the Columbia; it is a fine coun- 


try for grazing, and raises good crops where irrigated. 
He meant to ask some friends of Oregon in Washington 
to get an appropriation for erecting military stations in 
the Indian country, and he had thought that if he could 
obtain a grant of money to buy sheep to be given to the 
Indians as a reward for good conduct and a food supply, 
so that they might not have to go to the buffalo country 
for meat, it would have a tendency to give them more set 
tled habits, and incline them more towards civilization. 

With these mixed motives, and feeling driven by the 
exigencies of the situation, Dr. Whitman determined to 
start for the states as soon as he could find some one to 
take charge of his station. Rogers and Gray had deserted 
him, and he was forced to write for William Geiger, u 
Presbyterian, who had been employed in the Methodist 
mission school in the Wallamet, to come to Waiilatpu and 
remain during his absence. 

These matters arranged, he was finally ready for his 
journey, and aided by his friend McKinlay, set out Octo 
ber 3, 1842, for the east via Fort Hall, Uintah, Taos, Fort 
Bent, and Santa Fe, at which point A. L. Lovejoy, his only 
traveling companion, besides his guides, remained, while 
Whitman joined a trading company going to St. Louis, 
where he arrived in the month of March, having manfully 
borne the hardships of a winter journey seldom performed 
in that day even by mountain men. 

On reaching the frontier Dr. Whitman found that a 
treaty with Great Britain had been negotiated between our 
secretary of state, Daniel Webster, and the British pleni 
potentiary, Lord Asbburton, and confirmed by the high 
contracting parties seven months before his arrival, but 
that it did not in any way affect the Oregon question, 
leaving it where it had been before. 

He found also that the Linn land bill had passed the 
senate a few weeks previous, and been defeated in the 
house. But so sure had its passage been regarded by the 
people that a large number of immigrants were ready to 


start for Oregon with their families, cattle, and household 
goods; and had appointed a rendezvous in western Missouri 
from which to march as soon as the grass should be suf 
ficiently high to subsist their stock. With some of these 
people he talked in passing, and gave them instruction as 
to the route, and the best means of traveling and encamp 
ing. He found the secretary of war in his last report had 
recommended a line of military posts with the object of 
impressing the Indians on the Pacific coast with the 
strength of the United States, and also to afford protection 
to the Americans in that region. The secretary went 
further, and recommended making an appropriation to 
send out a colony to settle in Oregon. He found petitions 
pouring into congress from Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, In 
diana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Alabama, insisting upon the 
occupation of Oregon. He found, in short, little left for 
him to propose or advocate in Oregon matters, for the 
subject was one more written and talked about than any 
other at that time. 

It appears from a letter preserved in the war department, 
that while Dr. Whitman was in Washington he had a con 
ference with the secretary of war, Hon. James M. Porter, 
and that he was requested by Porter to frame such a bill 
as would be for the best interests of Oregon. This he did 
after his return home in the autumn of 1843, but it was 
never introduced in congress, and remained forever a dead 

This bill asked for the establishment of "a chain of agri 
cultural posts or farming "stations" from the Missouri to 
the Wallamet river in Oregon, with regulations for their 
management. Their avowed object was to set the example 
of civilized industry to the Indians; to suppress lawless 
ness on the frontier; to facilitate the passage of troops and 
munitions of war, and the transportation of mails. 

It will be observed that the bill makes no mention of the 
necessities of emigrants, but in a letter accompanying it, 
Dr. Whitman dilates upon the benefits to travelers not only 


of protection from Indian aggression, but of being supplied 
with vegetable food while en route? 

These documents, which have only been brought to light 
after nearly half a century of lying perdu, serve to confirm 
reports concerning his troubles with the Cayuses, and his 
anxiety for protection. 

It was said by persons about Fort Walla Walla, that Dr. 
Whitman, in his vexation with the Indians, before leaving 
for the states, threatened them with bringing back many 
people to chastise them. This threat has been denied by 
his friends as not consistent with his character as a mis 
sionary; but the tone of his letter and bill of 1843 are en- 

3 In reading the following letter and bill, it should be borne in mind that they 
were written after the doctor had been east, had learned the then political prospects 
of Oregon, and had traveled months in company with intelligent western men, with 
whom he talked freely, and to whom, according to their evidence, he never disclosed 
any political motive in going east. What he wanted both before and after going east, 
it is fair to assume, is set down in these documents, which are interesting as a part 
of the early history of Oregon, and as an indication of the character and motives of 
their author. They were received at Washington, June 22, 1844, probably forwarded 
by the Hudson s Bay Company s annual express via Montreal of that year. Nothing 
in either of these documents shows any political motive for Dr. Whitman s visit east ; 
but the second paragraph of his letter, in which he says the government will learn 
through him of the emigration of one thousand persons, shows a singular want in 
him of a knowledge of the facts, the government keeping a sharp lookout, as well 
as tlie newspapers of the day : 

To the Hon. James M. Porter, Secretary of War : 

SIR : In compliance with the request you did me the honor to make last winter 
while at Washington, I herewith transmit to you the synopsis of a bill, which, if it 
could be adopted, would according to my experience and observation prove highly 
conducive to the best interests of the United States generally, to Oregon, where I 
have resided for more than seven years as a missionary, and to the Indian tribes that 
inhabit the intermediate country. 

The government will now doubtless for the first time be apprised through you, 
and by means of this communication, of the immense migration of families to Ore 
gon, which has taken place this year. I have since our interview been instrumental 
in piloting across the route described in the accompanying bill, and which is the 
only eligible wagon road, no less than families, consisting of one thousand per 
sons of both sexes, with their wagons, amounting in all to more than one hundred 
and twenty, six hundred and ninety -four oxen, and seven hundred and seventy-three 
loose cattle. 

The emigrants are from different states, but principally from Missouri, Arkan 
sas, Illinois, and New York. The majority of them are farmers, lured by the pros 
pects of government bounty in lands, by the reported fertility of the soil, and by the 
desire to be first among those who are planting our institutions on the Pacific coast. 
Among them are artisans of every trade, comprising with fanrers the very best ma 
terial for a new colony. As pioneers, these people have undergone incredible hard 
ships, and having now safely passed the Blue mountain range with their wagons 
and effects, have established a durable road from Missouri to Oregon, which will 


tirely consistent with such a proposition; his whole thought 
seeming to be how to repel Indian aggressions. Whatever 
admiration he had at first felt for the aboriginal character 
had been completely effaced by his experiences among 
them. Why then did he insist that the board should not 
recall him from the country, except that it was with him 
as with the Methodist missionaries, that the settler in him 
was stronger than the missionary as missionaries were 
at that period understood to be. 

To his disappointment the American board of commis 
sioners for foreign missions had no stomach for territorial 
conquest or Indian subjugation. They reprimanded him 

serve to mark permanently the route for larger numbers each succeeding year, while 
they have practically demonstrated that wagons drawn by horses or oxen can cross 
the Rocky mountains to the Columbia river country, contrary to all the sinister 
assertions of all those who pretended it to be impossible. 

In their slow progress these persons have encountered, as in all former instances 
and as all succeeding emigrants must if this or some similar bill be not passed by. 
congress, the continual fear of Indian aggression, the actual loss through them of 
horses, cattle, and other property, and the great labor of transporting an adequate 
amount of provisions for so long a journey. The bill herewith proposed would, in a, 
great measure, lessen these inconveniences by the establishment of posts, which, 
while [having] the possessed power to keep the Indians in check, thus doing away 
with the necessity of military vigilance on the part of the traveler by day and night, 
would be able to lurnish them in transit with fresh supplies of provisions, diminish 
ing the original burdens of the emigrants, and finding thus a ready and profitable mar 
ket for their produce a market that would, in my opinion, more than suffice to 
defray all the current expenses of such posts. The present party is supposed to have 
expended no less than two thousand dollars at Laramie s and Bridger s forts and as 
much more at Fort Hall and Fort Boise, two of the Hudson s Bay Company s stations. 
These are at present the only stopping places in a journey of two thousand two hun 
dred miles, and the only places where additional supplies can be obtained, even at 
the enormous rates of charge called mountain prices ; i. e., fifty dollars the hundred 
for flour and fifty dollars the hundred for coffee ; the same for sugar, powder, etc. 

Many cases of sickness and some deaths took place among those who accom 
plished the journey this season, owing in a great measure to the uninterrupted use 
of meat, salt and fresh, with flour, which constituted the chief articles of food they 
are able to convey in their wagons, and this would be obviated by the vegetable pro. 
ductions, which the posts in contemplation could very profitably afford them. Those 
who rely on hunting as an auxiliary support are at present unable to have their 
arms repaired when out of order ; horses and oxen become tender footed and require 
to be shod on this long journey, sometimes repeatedly, and the wagons repaired in a 
variety of ways. I mention these as valuable incidents to the proposed measure, as 
it will also be found to tend in many other incidental ways to benefit the migratory 
population of the United States, choosing to take this direction, and on these ac 
counts as well as for the immediate use of the posts themselves, they ought to be pro 
vided with the necessary shops and mechanics, which would at the same time 
exhibit the several branches of civilized art to the Indians. 

The outlay, in the first instance, would be but trifling. Forts like those of the 
Hudson s Bay Company, surrounded by walls inclosing all the buildings, and con- 


for leaving his station on so useless an errand, refused to 
pay his expenses, and left him to get back again as best 
he could. It is very probable they were more or less 
disgusted with him, these highly proper, clean-shaven, 
decorous Presbyterians, for seven years spent among sav 
ages, with every kind of farm labor to perform, could not 
have given that finish to his manner which the Bostonians 
"admired to see." So, they told him to go home and do 
the best he could without their aid. This was his reward 
for what he had endured for conscience sake for Dr. 
Whitman was a thoroughly conscientious man where a 
principle was in question. 

structed almost entirely of adobe or sun-dried bricks, with stone foundations only, 
can be easily and cheaply erected. 

There are very eligible places for as many of these as the government will find nee. 
essary, at suitable distances, not further than one or two hundred miles apart, at the 
main crossing of the principal streams that now form impediments to the journey, 
and consequently well supplied with water, having alluvial bottom lands of a rich 
quality, and generally well wooded. If I might be allowed to suggest the best sites 
for said posts, my personal knowledge and observation enable me to recommend, 
first, the main crossing of the Kansas river, where a ferry would be very convenient 
to the traveler, and profitable to the station having it in charge ; next, and about 
eighty miles distant, the crossing of Blue river, where, in times of unusual freshet, a 
ferry would be in like manner useful ; next, and distant from one hundred to one 
and fifty miles, from, the last mentioned, the Little Blue, or Republican fork of the 
Kansas ; next, and from sixty to one hundred miles distant from the last mentioned, 
the point of intersection of the Platte river; next, and from one hundred to one 
hundred and fifty miles distant from the last mentioned crossing of the South fork 
of the Platte river ; next, and about one hundred and eighty or two hundred miles 
distant from the last mentioned, Horseshoe creek, which is about forty miles west of 
Laramie s fork in the Black Hills ; here is a fine creek for mills and irrigation, good 
land for cultivation, fine pasturage, timber, and stone for building. Other locations 
may be had along the Platte and Sweetwater, on the Green river, or Black s fork of 
the Bear river, near the Great Soda Springs, near Fort Hall, and at suitable places 
down to the Columbia. These localities are all of the best description, so situated as 
to hold a ready intercourse with the Indians in their passage to and from the ordi 
nary buffalo hunting grounds, and in themselves so well situated in all other respects 
as to be desirable to private enterprise, if the usual advantages of trade existed. 
Any of the farms above indicated would be deemed extremely valuable in the states. 

The government cannot long overlook the importance of superintending the 
savages that endanger this line of travel, and that are not yet in treaty with it. Some 
of these are already well known to be led by desperate white men and mongrels, who 
form bandits in the most difficult passes, and are at all times ready to cut oft 1 some 
lagging emigrant in the rear of the party, or some adventurous one who may proceed 
a few miles in advance, or at night to make a descent upon the sleeping camp and 
carry away or kill horses and cattle. This is the case even now in the commence 
ment of our western emigration, and when it comes to be more generally known 
that large quantities of valuable property and considerable sums of money are yearly 
carried over this desolate region, it is to be feared an organized banditti will be 
instituted. The posts in contemplation would effectually counteract this ; for that 


He went to his old home in central New York, sold what 
ever property he had there, and started for Oregon once 
more, in company with his nephew, a young lad, a riding 
horse apiece, and a pack horse. It was characteristic of 
the man. He always took these desperate chances. Pro 
ceeding westward, he visited some relatives, and afterwards 
one or two of the missions on the border. He was sent 
for to address a meeting at the emigrant rendezvous in Mis 
souri about the middle of May, but returned to Westport, 
and did not overtake the emigration until it had reached 
the Platte in June. 

Dr. Whitman had wished to bring back with him some 

purpose they need not nor ought not to be military establishments. The trading 
posts in this country have never been of such a character, and yet, with very few 
men in them, have for years kept the surrounding Indians in the most pacific dispo 
sition, so that the traveler feels secure from molestation upon approaching Fort Lara- 
mie, Bridger s Fort, Fort Hall, etc. The same can be obtained without any considerable 
expenditure by government, while, by investing the officers in charge with compe 
tent authority, all evil-disposed white men, refugees from justice, or discharged vag 
abonds from the trading posts might be easily removed from among the Indians, and 
sent to the appropriate states for trial. The Hudson s Bay Company s system of 
rewards among the savages would soon enable the posts to root out these desperadoes. 
A direct and friendly intercourse with all the tribes, even to the Pacific, might be 
thus maintained, the government would become more intimately acquainted with 
them, and they with the government, and instead of sending to the state courts a 
manifestly guilty Indian to be arraigned before a distant tribunal and acquitted for 
the want of testimony by the technicalities of lawyers and of laws unknown to 
them, and sent back into the wilderness loaded with presents as an inducement to 
further crime, the posts should be enabled to execute summary justice, as if tho 
criminal had been already condemned by his tribe, because the tribe will be sure to 
deliver up none but the party whom they know to be guilty. They will in that way 
receive the trial of their peers, and secure within themselves, to all intents and pur 
poses if not technically, the trial by jury, yet the spirit of that trial. There are 
many powers which ought to reside in some person on this extended route for the 
convenience and even necessity of the public. 

In this the emigrant and the people of Oregon are no more interested than the 
resident inhabitants of the states. At present no person is authorized to administer 
an oath or legally attest a fact from the western line of Missouri to the Pacific. The 
emigrant cannot dispose of his property at home, although an opportunity ever s 
advantageous to him should occur after he passes the western border of Missouri. 
No one can here make a legal demand and protest of a promissory note or bill of 
exchange. No one can secure the valuable testimony of a mountaineer or of an 
emigrating witness after he has entered this, at present, lawless country. Causes do 
exist, and will continually arise, in which the private rights of citizens are and will 
be seriously prejudiced by such an utter absence of legal authority. A contraband 
trade from Mexico, the introduction from that country of liquors to be sold among 
the Indians west of the Kansas river, is already carried on with the mountain trap 
pers, and very soon the teas, silks, nankeens, spices, camphor, and opium of the East 
Indies will find their way, duty free, through Oregon, across the mountains and into 
the states unless custom-house officers along this line find an interest in intercepting 


" Christian families to settle in the vicinity of the different 
stations." But in that he was disappointed. These families 
could not be induced to take the risks he was taking, and 
he talked freely with some of his fellow travelers to Oregon 
of his want of success, and fears of the consequences. Out 
of the whole immigration of nearly eight hundred persons, 
only one family, and one unmarried man, were persuaded 
to remain at Lapwai, while not one person consented to 
give him their assistance at Waiilatpu. 

This circumstance probably had a quieting effect upon 
the Indians, as no more of their lands were taken ; but 
they still complained that the missionaries traded with 

Your familiarity with the government policy, duties, and interest renders it un 
necessary for rne to more than hint at the several objects intended by the enclosed 
bill, and any enlargement upon the topics here suggested as inducements to its 
adoption would be quite superfluous, if not impertinent. The very existence of 
such a system as the one above recommended suggests the utility of postoffices and 
mail arrangements, which it is the wish of all who now live in Oregon to have 
granted them, and I need only add that contracts for this purpose will be readily 
taken at reasonable rates for transporting the mail across from Missouri to the mouth 
of the Columbia in forty days, with fresh horses at each of the contemplated posts. 
The ruling policy proposed regards the Indians as the police of the country, who are 
to be relied upon to keep the peace, not only for themselves, but to repel lawless 
white men and prevent banditti, under the solitary guidance of the superintendent 
of the several posts, aided by a well-directed system to induce the punishment of 
crime. It will only be after the failure of these means to procure the delivery or 
punishment of violent, lawless, and savage acts of aggression, that a band or tribe 
should be regarded as conspirators against the peace, or punished accordingly by 
force of arms. 

Hoping that these suggestions may meet your approbation, and conduce to the 
future interest of our growing country, I have the honor to be, honorable sir, 
Your obedient servant, 


Copy of a proposed bill prepared by Dr. Marcus Whitman in 
1843, and sent to the secretary of war. 

A bill to promote safe intercourse with the territory of Oregon, to suppress violent 
acts of aggression on the part of certain Indian tribes west of the Indian terri 
tory, Neocho, better to protect the revenue, for. the transportation of the mail, 
and for other purposes. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by tlie senate and house of representatives of the United States 
of America in congress assembled, that from and after the passage of this act there shall 
be established at suitable distances, and in convenient and proper places to be 
selected by the president, a chain of agricultural posts or farming stations, extending 
at intervals from the present most usual crossing of the Kansas river, west of the 
western boundary of the state of Missouri, thence ascending the Platte river on its 
southern border, thence through the valley of the Bweetwater river to Fort Hall, and 
thence to settlements of the Willamette in the territory of Oregon. Which said posts 
shall have for their object to set examples of civilized industry to the several Indian 


the immigrants, acquiring wealth, while they, the owners 
of the land, remained as poor as before. 

Again, from the above facts, we may draw these conclu 
sions : 

First. That with the purest intentions, and with the 
best religious ideas of the times, the Presbyterian mission 
aries of the upper country found it impossible to implant 
spiritual religion in the minds of the aboriginal inhabitants 
of earth. 

Second. That the influence of the contact with savagery 
was to unspiritualize themselves; to drive out of their 
minds confidence in the power of religion to change the 

tribes, to keep them in proper subjection to the laws of the United States, to suppress 
violent and lawless acts along the said line of frontier, to facilitate the passage of 
troops and munitions of war into and out of the said territory of Oregon, and the 
transportation of the mail as hereinafter provided. 

Section 2. And be it further enacted, that there shall reside at each of the said 
posts one superintendent having charge thereof, with full power to carry into effect 
the provisions of this act, subject always to such instructions as the president may 
impose; one deputy superintendent to act in like manner in case of the death, 
removal, or absence of the superintendent, and such other artificers and laborers, not 
exceeding twenty in number, as the said superintendent may deem necessary for the 
conduct and safety of said posts, all of whom shall be subject to his appointment and 
liable to removal. 

Section 3. And be it further enacted, that it shall be the duty of the president to 
cause to be erected at each of the said posts, suitable buildings for the purpose herein 
contemplated, to wit: One main dwelling-house, one storehouse, one blacksmith s 
and gunsmith s shop, and one carpenter shop, with such and so many other buildings 
for storing the products and supplies of the said posts as he may from time to time 
deem expedient ; to supply the same with all necessary implements of mechanical 
art and agricultural labor incident thereto, and with all such other articles as he 
may judge requisite and proper for the safety, defense, and comfort thereof; to 
cause the said posts in his discretion to be visited by detachments of the troops 
stationed on the western frontier; to suppress through the said posts the sale of muni 
tions of war to the Indian tribes in case of hostilities, and annually to lay before 
congress at its general session, full returns, verified by the oaths of the several super 
intendents of the several acts by them performed, and of the condition of the said 
posts, with the income and expenditures growing out of the same respectively. 

Section 4. And be it further enacted, that the said superintendents shall be 
appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, for 
the term of four years, with a salary of two thousand dollars, payable out of any 
moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated ; that they shall respectively take 
an oath before the district judge of the United States for the western district of 
Missouri faithfully to discharge the duties imposed on them in and by the provisions 
of this act, and give a bond to the president of the United States, and to his successors 
in office and assigns, with sufficient security to be approved by the said judge in at 
least the penalty of twenty-five thousand dollars, conditioned to indemnify the 
president, his successors, or assigns, for any unlawful acts by them performed, or 
injuries committed by virtue of their offices, which said bonds may at any time be 
assigned for prosecution against the said respective superintendents and their sure 


nature of men in a low stage of their mental evolution. 

Third. That the change this discovery made in them 
selves, being perceived by the Indians, was a cause of dis 
pleasure to them, and of danger to the missionaries. 

Fourth. That the delay of the governments of Great 
Britain and the United States to settle the Oregon bound 
ary greatly increased this danger by preventing an un 
derstanding between our government and the Indians 
concerning property in lands; rendering it also impolitic 
to send troops among them before our sovereignty had 
been acknowledged by the only power disputing it. 

These circumstances left the defense of the loyal Ameri- 

ties upon application to the said judge at the instance of the United States district 
attorney or of any private party aggrieved. 

Section 5. And be it further enacted, that it shall be the duty of said superin 
tendents to cause the soil adjacent to said posts, in extent not exceeding six hun 
dred and forty acres to be cultivated in a farmer-like manner, and to produce such 
articles of culture as in their judgment shall be deemed to be most profitable and 
available for the maintenance of said posts, for the supply of the troops and other 
government agents which may from time to time resort thereto, and to render the 
products aforesaid adequate to defraying all the expenses of labor in and about 
said posts, and the salary of the said deputy superintendent, without resort to the 
treasury of the United States, remitting to the secretary of the treasury yearly a 
sworn statement of the same, with the surplus moneys, if any there shall be. 

Section 6. And be it further enacted, that the said several superintendents of 
posts shall, ex officio, be superintendents of Indian affairs west of the Indian terri 
tory, Neocho, subordinate to and under the full control of the commissioner-general 
of Indian affairs at Washington. That they shall, by virtue of their offices, be con 
servators of the peace, with full powers to the extent hereinafter prescribed, in all 
cases of crimes and misdemeanors, whether committed by citizens of the United 
States, or by Indians within the frontier line aforesaid. That they shall have power 
to administer oaths, to be valid in the several courts of the United States, to perpet 
uate testimoney to be used in said courts, to take acknowledgements of deeds and 
other specialties in writing, to take the probate of wills and the testaments executed 
upon the said frontier of which the testators shall have died in transit between the 
state of Missouri and the territory of Oregon, and to do and certify all notarial acts, 
and to perform the ceremony of marriage, with as legal effect as if the said several 
acts above enumerated had been performed by the magistrates of any of the states 
having power to perform the service. That they shall have power to arrest and 
remove from the line aforesaid all disorderly white persons, and all persons exciting 
the Indians to hostilities, and to surrender up all fugitives from justice upon the 
requisition of the governor of any of the states; that they shall have power to de 
mand of the several tribes within the said frontier line, the surrender of any Indian 
or Indians committing acts in contradiction of the laws of the United States, and in 
case of such surrender, to inilict punishment thereon, according to the tenor and 
effect of said laws, without further trial, presuming such offending Indian or Indians 
to have received the trial and condemnation of the tribe to which he or they may 
belong; to intercept and seize all articles of contraband trade, whether introduced 
into their jurisdiction in violation of the acts imposing duties or imports, or of the 
acts to regulate trade and intercourse with the several Indian tribes ; to transmit the 


cans holding it, to be performed by themselves. It left, 
in 1842, two mission colonies, and a few poor settlers, 
numbering altogether not more than two hundred and 
seventy, including children, and the party of immigrants 
who came with White, to contend in case of an Indian 
war, with many thousands of savages surrounding them 
on every side. To add to the apprehensions of the Amer 
icans, was a doubt in their minds as to which side, in case 
of a race war. would be taken by the foreigners in the 
country the free Canadians and the Hudson s Bay 

same to the marshal of the western district of Missouri, together with the proofs 
necessary for the confiscation thereof, and in every such case the superintendent 
shall be entitled to and receive one-half the sale value of the said confiscated arti 
cles, and the other half be disposed of as in like cases arising under the existing 
revenue laws. 

Section 7. And be it further enacted, that the several superintendents shall have 
and keep to their several posts seals of office for the legal authentication of their 
public acts herein enumerated, and that the said seals shall have as a device the 
spread-eagle, with the words, "U. S. Superintendency of the Frontier," engraved 

Section 8. And be it further enacted, that the said superintendents shall be en 
titled, in addition to the salary hereinbefore granted, the following perquisites and 
lees of office, to wit : For the acknowledgment of all deeds and specialties, the sum 
of one dollar ; for the administration of all oaths, twenty-five cents ; for the authen 
tication of all copies of written instruments, one dollar ; for the perpetuation of all 
testimony to be used in the United States courts, by the folio, fifty cents ; for the 
probate of all wills and testaments, by the folio, fifty cents ; for all other writing done 
by the folio, fifty cents ; for solemnizing marriages, two dollars, including the certifi 
cate to be given to the parties; for the surrender of fugitives from justice, in addi 
tion to the necessary costs and expenses of arrest and detention, which shall be 
verified to the demanding governor by the affidavit of the superintendent, ten 

Section 9. And be it further enacted, that the said superintendents shall, by 
virtue of their offices, be postmasters at the several stations for which they are ap 
pointed, and as such shall be required to facilitate the transportation of the mail to 
and from the territory of Oregon and the nearest postoffice within the state of Mis 
souri, subject to all the regulations of the postoffice department, and with all the 
immunities and privileges of the postmasters in the several states, except that no 
additional compensation shall be allowed for such services ; and it is hereby made 
the duty of the postmaster-general to cause proposals to be issued for the transporta 
tion of the mail along the Inei of said posts to and from the said territory within six 
months after the passage of this act. 

Section 10. And be it further enacted, that the sum of thousand dollars be 

and the same is hereby appropriated out of any moneys in the treasury, not other 
wise appropriated, for the purpose of carrying into effect the several provisions of 
this act. Walla Walla Daily Union- Journal, August 10, 1891. 



IN THE foregoing chapters we have presented to us the 
stage, and the dramatis persons on which, and by whom, 
was enacted the great tragedy of colonial Oregon, and 
have been given a view of its gradual unfolding. From 
this point the story proceeds more rapidly. 

Up 1o the time that Dr. White returned from the states 
invested with the authority of a sub-agent of Indian 
affairs in Oregon, and before Dr. Whitman had taken his 
departure for the east, there had been enacted no other 
hostilities than those above narrated; trifling if viewed in 
the light of actual warfare, yet of a threatening nature 
when the circumstances of the white inhabitants and the 
characteristics of the natives were considered. 

The colonists in the Wallamet valley, glad to be recog 
nized as belonging to the United States, even by the un 
warranted commissioning of a nondescript government 
officer, were proceeding to the discussion of steps towards 
a political organization, when they were startled by intel 
ligence from Fort Vancouver that the Cayuses had become 
openly hostile, having entered the mission-house at mid- 



night, and proceeded to the chamber of Mrs. Whitman, 
who escaped out of their hands only .by the timely aid of 
Mr. Geiger. A few days later the mission flouring-mill 
was burned down, and a large quantity of grain destroyed. 
Mrs. Whitman had been compelled to take refuge with the 
Methodist families at The Dalles, which place she reached 
by the kindness of the Hudson s Bay Company at Fort 
Walla Walla, accompanied by Geiger. 

The Nez Perces also had insulted and ordered out of 
her house Mrs. Spalding at Lapwai; and after stealing- 
Mr. Spalding s horse, had pointed a gun at, and further 
menaced him. 

These were acts of an unmistakable character, and Dr. 
White felt called upon to exhibit the authority in him 
vested. He secured the services of Thomas McKay, a 
noted leader of the Hudson s Bay Company s trading 
parties, and much respected as well as feared by the 
Indians, with six other picked men, to go to the scene of 
the disturbances. To this party were added Cornelius 
Rogers, late of Waiilatpu, and Baptiste Dorion, as inter 
preters. They were also joined by Mr. and Mrs. Little- 
john, who wished to go to the aid of the Spaldings at 
Lapwai, as they had agreed to do before Dr. Whitman s 
departure. At The Dalles it was thought best for Mrs. 
Littlejohn to remain until the temper of the Indians 
became better known; but Mr. Geiger accompanied the 
excursion to look after the mission property at Waiilatpu. 

It was already the sixteenth of November when the ex 
pedition set out from Vancouver. Owing to adverse winds 
on the Columbia it did not reach The Dalles until the 
twenty-fourth, where it made a short stay to procure 
horses, arriving at Waiilatpu, after having been joined at 
Walla Walla fort by Mr. McKinlay, on the first day of 
December. The Cayuses appeared shy, evidently unable 
to believe that this small party was all whom the a^ent of 
the United States had brought with him into a hostile 
country, and fearing a surprise. White took little notice 


of them, but proceeded to Lapwai, where he arrived on the 
third, and had to wait for the upper Nez Perces, to whom 
a courier had been sent, to meet him. In the meantime 
he visited the chiefs in the vicinity, and the school, 
adroitly expressing surprise at the advancement of the 
pupils in reading and writing. " Next day," he says, " I 
visited their little plantations, rude, to be sure, but success 
fully carried on, so far as raising the necessaries of life 
were concerned; and it was most gratifying to witness 
their fondness and care for their little herds ; pigs, poultry, 

Dr. White possessed some qualities which eminently 
fitted him to deal with Indians, as well as white men, 
among which was suavity of manner, and a desire to please 
as well as to be pleased. Accordingly, when the chiefs of 
the Nez Perces were assembled to the number of twenty- 
two, with a large number of their people, all giving a grave 
attention to his words, he stated the object of his visit, and 
that he had been sent by the great chief (president of the 
United States), to assure them of the kind intentions of 
his government, and the sad consequences that would 
ensue to any white man, from that time, who should 
invade their rights by stealing, murder, or selling them 
damaged goods, or alcohol. "Without threatening," he 
says, "I gave them to understand how highly Mr. and 
Mrs. Spalding were prized by the numerous whites, and 
with what pleasure the great chief gave them a paper 
(passport) to encourage them to come here to teach them 
what they were now so diligently employed in obtaining, 
in order that their children might become good, wise, and 

McKinlay addressed them briefly, alluding to his several 
years residence among them, and the good understanding 
that had existed between the Hudson s Bay Company and 
themselves, and assured them that all the white people, 
whether Boston, King George, or French (Indian designa 
tions for Americans, English, and Canadians) were one, as 


the Nez Perces and ( -ayuses were one in their interests and 
affections. This hint that the Hudson s Bay people would 
not approve of any abuse of the missionaries, was softened 
by praise of their unexpected advancement in arts and 
sciences, as shown by their farms and schools. 

Then came Mr. Rogers who had done so much for them 
in helping to shape their written language, and who was 
a favorite with the Nez Perces. He reminded them of the 
good accomplished, and carefully brought them to remem 
ber the unhappy consequences which had followed a 
rupture between the United States and the tribes east of 
the mountains, exhorting them to be reasonable and 
accept such measures as were for their advancement. 

McKay reserved his remarks to the last, knowing that 
his mixed blood would appeal strongly to his auditors. 
He reminded them of the tragedy of the Tonquin, whereby 
he was left an orphan, since which time he had for many 
years constantly traveled through and mixed with the 
Oregon tribes; had mingled in their bloody wars with the 
Blackfoot Indians, and had enjoyed their seasons of peace; 
had suffered the pangs of hunger with them, and enjoyed 
their feasts and sports, until weary at last he had retired 
upon his plantation in the Wallamet valley, and was as 
one dead. But he was aroused by the call of his white 
brother, and now was again in their midst, and was glad. 
He had come at the bidding of the great chief whose 
children were more numerous than the stars of heaven or 
the leaves of the forest. "Will you hear what he says?" 
asked the orator, his tall figure and dark impassioned 
face tense with meaning. "You will! Your wonderful 
improvement in the arts and sciences prove you are no 
fools. Surely you will hear; but if disposed to close your 
ears and stop them, they will be torn wide open, and you. 
will be made to hear." 

A proposition appears to have been made in reference 
to the choosing of a high chief, the other chiefs to be his 
aids in carrying out his commands. It is not easy to un- 


derstand the action of McKinlay and McKay in supporting 
this measure, as the policy of the Hudson s Bay Company 
had been to destroy the chieftainships, thus to lessen the 
danger from combined action among the Indians. They 
may have seen that the rivalry that would be called into 
play would be an effectual check on combination, or they 
may have feared to injure White s influence by objecting. 

After an impressive silence, Five Crows of the Umatilla 
branch of the Cayuses, a wealthy chief about forty-five 
years of age, and dressed in English fashion, arose apolo 
gizing for doing so on account of his youth when compared 
with other chiefs present, saying he had hopes of better 
days before him, seeing the white men united in the 
matter; his people had much wanted something, they 
hardly knew what, and had been groping in darkness; but 
here was something: Should they accept it? 

After Five Crows, the oldest of the Nez Perces, the 
Bloody Chief, who had been high chief of his tribe when 
Lewis and Clarke explored the country, arose and referred 
to the friendship between him and the first white men who 
had visited this region. U I showed them," said he, "my 
many wounds received in battle with the Snakes; they 
told me it was not good; it was better to be at peace; gave 
me a flag of truce; 1 I held it up high; we met and talked, 
but never fought again. Clarke pointed to this day, to 
you, and this occasion. We have long waited in expecta 
tion. We sent three of our sons to Red-river school to 
prepare for it. Two of them sleep with their fathers; the 
other is here, and can be ears, mouth, arid pen for us. I 
can say no more. I am quickly tired; my voice and limbs 
tremble. I am glad I live to see you this day, but I shall 
soon be still and quiet in death." 

Following this speech, which was affecting from its sim 
plicity and pathos, several of the younger chiefs spoke, 

is undoubtedly an error of the interpreter s. Lewis and Clarke gave this 
chief a United States flag, explaining to him its meaning. Hence, he says, "I held 
it up high." He was called Twisted Hair by the explorers. 


after which there was an adjournment of three hours to 
allow them to deliberate among themselves. On reassem 
bling White alluded to some of the offenses committed by 
the young men, and not sanctioned by the chiefs or old 
men, as he hoped; but, where the chiefs had done wrong, 
he attributed it to a misunderstanding of what they had 
been taught, or other mitigating causes. He then advised 
them to choose a high chief; and that all the chiefs should 
have a bodyguard to execute the laws. The code prepared 
by him was then presented for adoption, as follows: 

Article 1. Whoever wilfully takes life shall be hung. 

Article 2. Whoever burns a dwelling shall be hung. 

Article 3. Whoever burns an outbuilding shall be im 
prisoned six months, receive fifty lashes, and pay all dam 

Article 4. Whoever carelessly burns a house, or any 
property, shall pay damages. 

Article 5. If any one enter a dwelling, without per 
mission of the occupant, the chiefs shall punish him as 
they think proper. Public rooms are excepted. 

Article 6. If any one steal, he shall pay back two-fold; 
and if it be the value of a beaver skin or less, he shall 
receive twenty-five lashes; and if the value is over a beaver 
skin, he shall pay back two-fold, and receive fifty lashes. 

Article 7. If any one take a horse and ride it without 
permission, or take any article and use it without liberty, 
he shall pay for the use of it, and receive from twenty to 
fifty lashes, as the chief shall direct. 

Article 8. If any one enter a field and injure the crops, 
or throw down the fence so that cattle or horses go in and 
do damage, he shall pay all damages, and receive twenty- 
five lashes for every offense. 

Article 9. Those only may keep dogs who travel or 
live among the game. If a dog kill a lamb, calf, or any 
domestic animal, the owner shall pay the damages and 
kill the dog. 

Article 10. If an Indian raise a gun or other weapon 


against a white man, it shall be reported to the chiefs, and 
they shall punish it. If a white man do the same to an 
Indian, it shall be reported to Dr. White, and he shall 
punish or redress it. 

Article 11. If an Indian break these laws, he shall be 
punished by his chiefs; if a white man break them, he 
shall be reported to the agent, and punished at his instance. 

To these -laws the Nez Perces gave their assent with 
apparent willingness, even advocating making some of the 
penalties more severe, and adding the dog law. The chiefs 
were astute enough to see how much power it placed in 
their hands, although each law had been framed for the 
protection of the white race. But to find a man among 
them willing to assume the responsibility, together with 
the power, was not so easy as might have been expected. 

The election was to be unanimous, and to be closed by 
the next day at ten o clock, after which, if all should be 
amicabb settled, a fat ox was to be slaughtered, and they 
were to dine with the white chiefs. As a feast will settle 
knotty questions in most quarters of the globe, so this one 
in anticipation put the Nez Perces in high good humor, 
and after referring many times to McKay and Rogers for 
advice, very sparingly given, they made choice of Ellis, of 
Kamiah, who was possessed of much influence among the 
whole Nez Perce nation. This was the same Ellis who 
started with Gray for the states, and whom Mr. Spalding 
would have had whipped for deserting him. He was now 
thirty-two years of age, and having been sent to school at 
Red river, spoke and wrote English passably well, being 
also the owner of a plantation, some sheep and neat stock, 
and eleven hundred head of horses. 

The election being announced the multitude partook of 
fat beef, corn, aad pease to repletion, smoking afterwards 
the friendly pipe until evening, when a special meeting of 
the head men was called to consider the grievances of 
which Mr. Spalding or the Indians had to complain. Ellis 
throughout conducted himself in a sensible manner, and 


these difficulties were disposed of. Finally, on the follow 
ing day, another meeting was held, at which questions were 
asked and answered with a view to enlightening the In 
dians concerning the sentiments and laws of white people. 

"I advised in many matters," says White, " especially in 
reference to begging, or even receiving presents without in 
some way returning an equivalent; pointed out in strong 
language who beggars are among the whites, and how re 
garded; and commended them for not once troubling me 
during my stay with this disgusting practice; and as a 
token of respect now, at the close of our long and happy 
meeting, they would please accept, in the name of my 
great chief, a present of fifty garden hoes, not for those in 
authority, or such as had no need of them, but for the 
chiefs and Mr. Spalding to distribute among their indus 
trious poor." 

Before leaving, White prepared some medicines to be 
given the poor as they should be required; and exhorted 
all to be in obedience to their chiefs, and to look upon Mr. 
and Mrs. Spalding as their father and mother, reserving 
all points of difference to be settled when he returned in 
the spring. He was then escorted several miles upon his 
way, when the chiefs parted from him in high good humor; 
and Mr. Spalding afterwards wrote that the Nez Perces were 
quiet during the winter ; so easy was it, apparently, for a 
man with some tact to secure the good will and confidence 
of these adult children. 

A report sent to the sub-agent by Mr. Spalding in the 
spring contains many interesting facts concerning the Nez 
Perces at this time, in which he commended their industry 
and quickness of intellect, though giving an unflattering 
summing up of their moral characteristics as observed by 
him in his intercourse with them ; but confesses that when 
he attempts to hold it up as an exception to other nations 
without the wholesome restraints of law, and strangers to 
the influence of enlightened society, he is unable to do it. 

Returning to Waiilatpu, Dr. White found awaiting- him 


Tauitowe (sometimes called the young chief), head man 
of the Cayuses on the Uinatilla, and brother of Five 
Crows; and Feather Cap, belonging to Tiloukaikt s camp 
at Waiilatpu, with a few other chiefs from the three prin 
cipal Cayuse camps, the third of which was half way be 
tween the two just mentioned, and governed by Camaspelo. 
It was at once evident that much disaffection existed here, 
which it would be difficult to cure, and White put forward 
Rogers and McKay as better informed how to deal with 
it than he. " They had not proceeded far," says White in 
his report, "before Feather Cap, for the first time in his life, 
so far as we know, commenced weeping, and wished to see 
me ; said his heart was sick, and he could not live long as 
he now felt." The cause of Feather Cap s tears was the 
knowledge of his own guilt, the information that the Nez 
Perces had accepted the laws, and the fear that the Cayuses 
would do the same, when he would be in a bad case. 
Tauitowe had at first no tears to shed, and he had some 
charges to bring against the white race, three-fourths of 
whom, he said, though teaching the purest doctrines, were 
in practice bad men, an opinion founded upon what he 
had observed among mountain men when he had been on 
the buffalo hunt. He was shown that such examples did 
not apply in the present instance, and finally admitted it, 
and in a speech in which he related his troubles as high 
chief, wept freely. He had flogged 2 his young men, and 
reproved the middle-aged, until having none to sustain 
him, his popularity had so declined he was "left alone to 
say his payers and go to bed to weep over the follies and 
wickedness of his people." 

When Rogers and McKay had aroused the chiefs to 
remorse, they were sent to Dr. White, who magnanimously 
promised to refrain from punishing any but the actually 
guilty. The settlement of the count against them the 
offense against Mrs. Whitman and the destruction of Dr. 
Whitman s property, was allowed to stand over until 

-Flogging was a punishment first instituted by the Hudson s Bay Company. 


spring, when a final adjustment would be made if a ma 
jority of the principal men could be brought together by 
the tenth of April. The Cayuses were then left to their 

At The Dalles, on returning, White held a four days 
meeting with the Indians of Mr. Perkins mission, whom 
he found in a state of great excitement, all kinds of rumors 
being afloat among them of the intentions of the sub-agent 
towards them, and having a well-founded conviction that 
individually and collectively they had broken, and should 
continue to break the white men s laws. But at the end 
of the four days they were persuaded to accept the code, 
and in the winter H. B. Brewer, farmer of The Dalles 
mission, reported them living up to the regulations, and 
cutting logs for houses. "For the least transgression of 
the laws," wrote Brewer, "they are punished by their chiefs 
immediately. The clean faces of some, and the tidy 
dresses of others, show the good effects of your visit." 

White had hardly reached the Wallamet before he was 
called to Astoria to settle a difficulty created by a deserting 
sailor from some vessel in the Columbia, who had insti 
gated the Indians to threaten the life of one of the mission 
aries at Clatsop. The man was arrested, and the matter 
settled by the Hudson s Bay Company allowing him to be 
sent out of the country in charge of one of their trading 

Thus passed the winter of 1842-3, when in the spring a 
fresh agitation disturbed the American colonists. Whether 
justly or unjustly, Baptiste Dorion, son of that Madam 
Dorion, celebrated in Irving s Astoria for her courage and 
endurance in crossing the mountains and plains with 
Hunt s party, was charged with being the incendiary 
spirit who influenced the minds of the Indians with tales 
of the intended seizure of their country by people from the 
United States. 

It seems that Dorion, who acted as one of White s inter 
preters, remained in the upper countn r , and it may have 


been quite true that he, with half-caste cunning and 
suspicion, lit the smoldering fires in the haughty hearts of 
the Cayuse chiefs and their allies, which threatened to 
break out into a raging conflagration. But Hines, in his 
Oregon, remarks upon other causes for discontent and sus 
picion : " The fulfillment of the laws," he says, " which 
the agent recommended for their adoption was required 
by Ellis with the utmost vigor. Individuals were severely 
punished for crimes which, from time immemorial, had 
been committed by the people with impunity. They saw 
in the laws a deep laid scheme of the whites to destroy 
them, and take possession of their country." This sus 
picion received confirmation when they recollected that 
Dr. White himself brought a large party into the country 
with him; and by the threat of Dr. Whitman that he 
would bring many people to punish them for their mis 
deeds, a calamity they were looking forward to, at the end 
of summer. So firm was their conviction, that many of 
the Cayuses refused to cultivate their plantations in the 
spring of 1843, and were full of suppressed excitement. 

So much had their belief in the treachery of the white 
people grown upon them during the winter that they pre 
vailed upon the Walla Walla chief, Peu-peu-mox-mox 
(Yellow Serpent), to visit Fort Vancouver, and ask advice 
from the head of the Hudson s Bay Company. The reply 
of Dr. McLoughlin was that he did not believe the Amer 
icans intended to go to war, and that if they should do so 
incredible a thing, the company would not support them in 
it; and the chief returned comforted, after which the Cay- 
uses began again to hoe their little gardens. 

It appears that Dr. White did not keep his appointment 
with the Nez Perces, probably for want of means; but 
about the time he should have done so, such news was re 
ceived from the upper country relative to the designs of 
the Indians in that region that he was forced to make an 
effort to go among them. According to Mr. Hines, the 
Wall am et settlements were " thrown into a panic," the Cay- 


uses, Nez Perces, and Waila Wallas having "threatened the 
destruction of the whites." A letter was received from H- 
K. W. Perkins of The Dalles, containing the information 
furnished by the Walla Walla and Wascopum or Dalles 
Indians, that all these tribes were much exasperated 
against the white people on account of the belief that they 
were corning to take away their lands; and it was stated 
that the Nez Perces, during the winter, had dispatched one 
of their chiefs on snowshoes, to visit the Indians east of 
Fort Hall to incite them to cut off the party which Dr. 
Whitman had told them he would bring back with him 
"to settle the Nez Perces country;" and that a coalition 
was forming for the destruction of the Americans not a 
part of them only, but every one. 

The terror of the Americans, thus, for the first time, 
brought actually to face a danger they had before only 
vaguely imagined, was very great. "In the estimation of 
some," says Hines, " the Indians were to be upon us imme 
diately, and it was unsafe to retire at night, for fear the 
settlement would be attacked before morning. The plan 
of the agent was to induce men to pledge themselves, 
under the forfeiture of one hundred dollars in case of de 
linquency, to keep constantly on hand and ready for use 
either a good musket or rifle, and one hundred charges of 
ammunition, and to hold themselves in readiness to go at 
the call of the agent to any part of the country, not to ex 
ceed two days travel, for the purpose of defending the 
settlement, and repelling any savage invaders. This plan 
pleased some of the people, and they put down their names; 
but many were much dissatisfied with it, and as we had 
no authority, no law, no order, for the time being in the 
country, it was impossible to tell what would be the result 
if the Indians should attempt to carry their threats into 

To increase the excitement, it was reported that the 
Klikitats were collecting on that portion of the Wallamet 
plains which now constitutes Washington county, and the 


people, about thirty families, residing there, were much 
alarmed. A Calapooya chief also living near the Metho 
dist mission, incensed because one of his people had been 
Hogged, by order of Dr. White, for stealing a horse from 
the missionaries and flour from the mill at Salem, had 
gone away declaring he would return with a force to drive 
away the Americans. 

"The colony is indeed in a most defenseless condition," 
remarks Hines; "two hundred Indians divided into four 
bands might destroy the whole settlement in one night." 

White had no less than eight prisoners, white and red, 
on his hands at this time, and the adjustment of these 
affairs was occasioning no little trouble; but happily the 
Indians in the vicinity of the settlements were more brawl 
ers than fighters, and the dreaded outbreak was averted for 
the time being. 

On the twentieth of April, 1843, another letter was re 
ceived from Mr. Brewer at The Dalles, stating that the 
Indians in the interior still talked much of war between 
themselves, and that the white people in their midst had 
much to fear from their moocl. White then hastened to 
keep his appointment made in December, in order, if pos 
sible, to remove from their minds the excitement origi 
nating in Dr. Whitman s promise, and confirmed, it was 
said, by what Dr. White had told them in the council of 
December this latter being by inference only. 

But now the United States agent found himself in a 
very delicate position. United States authority and the 
national treasury were a long way off. No government of 
any kind existed in Oregon; no force was there with which 
to intimidate the Indians, should force be necessary; no 
public funds to draw upon for presents to pacify the sus 
picions of the Cayuses and Nez Perces; and to add to the 
hopelessness of the situation, the settlers had just previ 
ously dispatched to congress a memorial, charging the 
Hudson s Bay Company in Oregon with every species of 
tyranny and injustice towards the Americans, and particu- 


larly accusing Dr. McLoughlin of intending to injure them. 

Now, as in all their necessities past, or likely to come for 
some time, the Hudson s Bay Company, governed by Dr. 
McLoughlin, had been and still was an ever-present help 
in time of trouble, this memorial was but a poor return 
for kindnesses; but at this particular juncture of affairs it 
seemed likely to prove a serious blunder, as Dr. McLough 
lin was much incensed that such a document should be 
laid before the congress of the United States, and in his 
just wrath had declared he would extend no more favors to 
its authors. 

Dr. White did not consider that he came under the ban, 
being neither an author or signer of the memorial he 
was rather under the ban of his countrymen for not being 
one or the other. He determined to try his persuasive 
powers at Vancouver, 3 and accompanied by Rev. Gustavus 
Hines, and G. W. Le Breton, an enthusiastic young Amer 
ican, proceeded to that place on the twenty-filth, attended 
only by one Indian boy, and one Kanaka, neither Cana 
dians nor American colonists being found to undertake 
the dangerous service. The former, it was alleged, and 
with reason, were ordered by the Hudson s Bay Company 
to remain quiet at home; while the latter found this 
advice good as concerned themselves. 

There being no roads in Oregon at this period, travel 
was usually performed, in a leisurely manner, by canoe. 
On the way the agent s party was met at two different 
points by a courier with letters from Dr. McLoughlin, dis 
couraging the undertaking. One enclosed a communica 
tion from Rev. Demers, Catholic priest, just returned from 

:i White s salary was seven hundred and fifty dollars, with the guaranty that when 
Linn s bill passed it should be doubled ; and with verbal permission to draw upon 
government funds to meet his necessary expenses. He had difficulty afterwards in 
collecting for himself; and the board of management of the Hudson s Bay Company 
found nobody in Washington to honor White s order. The London managers sar 
castically informed the company in Oregon that they " did not understand govern 
ment securities," arid advised them to "stick to their beaver skins." After several 
years congress made an appropriation to discharge both obligations on account of 
the Indian service in Oregon, and Wliite was given another appointment on the 
Pacific coast. 


a mission to the interior, who reiterated what was known 
before, that the Indians were angry only with the " Boston r 
people or Americans, who they had declared, should not 
have their lands or take away their liberties. Such being 
the truth beyond doubt, Dr. McLoughliii still urged the 
policy of keeping away from them, and it was evident he 
feared an uprising, so easily brought about by slight indis 
cretions among these ignorant people. 

But White and Hines kept on, arriving at Vancouver 
on the evening of the twenty-eighth. Says Hines con 
cerning what followed : " Called on Dr. McLoughlin for 
goods, provisions, powder, balls, etc., for our accommoda 
tion on our voyage up the Columbia, and though he was 
greatly surprised that, under the circumstances, we should 
think of going among these excited Indians, yet he ordered 
his clerks to let us have whatever we wanted. However, 
we found it rather squally at the fort, not so much on 
account of our going among the Indians of the interior, as 
in consequence of a certain memorial having been sent to 
the United States congress implicating the conduct of Dr. 
McLoughlin and the Hudson s Bay Company, and bearing 
the signatures of seventy Americans. I inquired of the 
doctor if he had refused to grant supplies to those Ameri 
cans who had signed that document. He replied that he 
had not, but that the authors of the memorial need expect 
no more favors from him. Not being one of the authors, 
but merely a signer of the petition, I did not come under 
the ban of the company; consequently I obtained my out 
fit for the expedition, though at first there were strong 
indications that I would be refused." 

Thus the Americans in Oregon were furnished with the 
means of protecting themselves against the alleged hostile 
influence of the company whose acts they continually 
denounced in their memorials, furnished at a long credit 
besides, and the risk of disturbing the company s relations 
with the Indians and the home board, because Dr. Mc 
Loughlin was too magnanimous to oppose himself to a 



helpless community, however undeserving his favor it 
might be. 

On the twenty-ninth Dr. White, Hines, and Le Breton 
made a final start from Vancouver. At The Dalles, where 
they arrived May fourth, they were met by delegates from 
the tribes in that vicinity, who had accepted the laws in 
the previous December. They complained that the high 
chief elected, and his aids, had them punished for trifling 
offenses, for doing what they had always been in the habit 
of doing, and there had been broils among themselves in 

" Those appointed by Dr. White," says Hines, " were de 
sirous that his regulations should continue, because they 
placed the people under their absolute control, and gave 
them the power to regulate all their intercourse with the 
whites, and with the other Indian tribes. But the other 
influential men who were not in office desired to know of 
Dr. White of what benefit this whipping system was going 
to be to them. They said they were willing it should con 
tinue provided they were to receive shirts, and pants, and 
blankets as a reward for being whipped. They had been 
whipped a good many times and got nothing for it, and it 
had done them no good. If this state of things was to 
continue, it was all cultus. (good for nothing), and they 
would throw it away. The doctor wished them to under 
stand that they need not expect pay for being flogged 
when they deserved it. They laughed at the idea and 

From this it would appear that no more serious trouble 
existed among these Indians than from their worthless 
character might be expected at any time. But nothing 
is more difficult than to learn the truth of an Indian 
rumor. The difference between the stories told to White 
present, and carried to White absent, was the difference be 
tween a tragedy and a comedy. 

The agent did not tarry long at The Dalles, but pro 
ceeded next day on his journey, accompanied by Mr. 


Perkins. Mrs. Whitman had returned to Waiilatpu a 
month before with Mr. Geiger, thinking, perhaps, to re 
assure the Cayuses by her presence in their midst, and was 
anxiously looking for the agent. 

The effect of the -appearance among them of so small a 
party, who they knew must have been informed of their 
threatened hostilities, was. to excite both admiration and 
doubt in the minds of the Cayuses. It was difficult for 
them to believe that there was not a large party concealed 
somewhere near, which only waited for them to assemble 
to rush upon them and cut them off at a blow. It did not 
take long to learn that the young men of the tribe had 
been in favor of raising a war party to go down to the 
Wallamet and take the settlements by surprise. But the 
older chiefs held them back by pointing out the lateness 
of the season, and the depth of snow in the mountains. 
They also added that it would be wiser to remain on the 
defensive than to attempt to cut off all the white people 
on their own ground ; and they recalled what Mr. McKln- 
lay and McKay had said that in case of insurrection 
there would be no difference of nationality between the 
English, French, and Americans, but they would all stand 
together. They fully expected, however, at one time, and 
were still full of the suspicion that they would be com 
pelled to go to war. 

" On convincing them of my defenseless condition," says 
White, "and pacific intentions, they were quite astounded 
and much affected, assuring me they had been under 
strong apprehensions, having learned I was soon to visit 
them with a large armed party with hostile intentions, and 
I actually found them suffering more from fears of war 
from the whites, than the whites from (fear of) the In 

This attitude of the Cayuses at this time is confirmed 
by Hines also, who says, "They frequently remarked to 
Mr. Geiger that they did not wish to go to war; but if the 
Americans came to take a way their lands and make slaves 


of them, they would fight so long as they had a drop of 
blood to shed." 

The agent s party felt much uneasiness in view of the 
rumors that were afloat, on learning that seven hundred 
Nez Perces, fully armed, were preparing to come to the 
rendezvous of Waiilatpu; and it was feared that unless 
the Cayuses should first have submitted to the regulations 
offered, a quarrel might arise, which would terminate in 
hostilities. To prevent such a catastrophe, an effort was 
made to gain the consent of the Cayuses to hold a council 
at once. But no arguments or persuasions availed any 
thing they would hold no council without the presence 
of their allies. So suspicious were they that they would 
not at first accede to White s proposal to go himself to 
Lapwai and hasten the arrival of the Nez Perces; and they 
were right in thinking he had some other motive, for he 
was anxious to learn the -temper of the Nez Perces before 
allowing the two nations to meet. 

There were also jealousies to be overcome, some fearing 
Ellis, with his large following, might be used to subjugate 
them. At the same time that a part of them insisted on 
Ellis presence at a council, another faction opposed a 
council on any terms whatever. Thus several days were 
spent in studying the situation from all points of view. 

During the period of parleying, the Cayuses invited Dr. 
White and his party to make an excursion among their 
plantations, and see what they had done, to which propo 
sition the agent willingly acceded. 

Hines has described, with some humor, Feather Cap, the 
leader. He says he possessed a countenance extraordi 
narily savage, but a dignified mein, and a voice of com 
mand. He was dressed in skin breeches, a striped shirt, 
which he wore over his breeches, and a scarlet coat 
trimmed to imitate the uniform of a British general. On 
his head was first a cotton handkerchief," thrown over 
loosely; this was surmounted by an otter-skin cap, on top 
of which was fastened the long hair of a white horse-tail, 


which hung in ringlets down his neck. Mr. Geiger, who 
was a small man, was mounted on a donkey, also very 
small and very antic, which gave the Indians much cause 
for laughter. Mrs. Whitman accompanied them on horse 
back, as did Mr. Perkins, whose legs were as long as 
Geiger s were short. Two Indian women in calico dresses, 
riding astride, one with a child before her, and three 
Indian men, with Hines and White, completed the party. 

The Indians were pleased to show their farms. They 
realized that their condition as to food was vastly improved 
over what it was when the first Americans visited them. 
It was found that sixty Cay uses were cultivating each a 
small piece of ground in wheat, corn, pease, and potatoes; 
arid they were pleased to be commended for their industry. 

Rather late in the day Mr. Perkins left the party to go 
to the camps of Tauitowe and Five Crows, and also that of 
Peu-peu-mox-mox, to invite them to a conference at 
Waiilatpu. He spent the night at the lodge of the latter 
dignitary, whose son Elijah Hedding had been for a time 
in the Methodist mission school in the Wallamet valley. 
The chief and the missionary had evening prayers together, 
all the family joining in the exercises; and in the morning 
Perkins was so early in the saddle that he surprised 
Tauitowe in the act of calling his people together for the 
daily religious service by ringing a bell. His prayer, 
according to the report of Perkins, was, as he slipped his 
beads, "We are poor, we are poor, we are poor," ten times, 
closing with "Good Father, good son, good spirit," until 
the beads were all counted a petition which meant as 
much to the Indian as the long orations addressed to the 
Infinite in thousands of enlightened pulpits. 

The chiefs invited by Perkins declined to meet for the 
purpose of considering the laws without the presence of 
Ellis, whose approbation of any course they might pursue 
appeared to be by them considered of the highest im 
portance. Finding them immovable, White finally relin 
quished the effort to have the Cayuses committed to the 


adoption of the laws before being joined by the Nez Perces, 
and, set out for Lapwai, as he told the Cayuses, to hasten 
their coming, but really to gain from them a pledge to use 
their influence for the laws with this people, or to stay at 

The agent and his party were warmly welcomed at Lap 
wai by Mr. and Mrs. Spalding, and Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn, 
whom White had sent to the assistance of the mission dur 
ing the winter. Ellis, who was at Kamiah, sixty miles 
away, was sent for. Meanwhile the agent was informed 
of the progress of the people in learning and religion. 
Two hundred Indians attended religious services on Sun 
day. Joseph, the second chief of the Nez Perces, had 
already been received into the church ; also Timothy, an 
other chief, and thirty others stood proposed for member 
ship. Accordingly, Mr. Spalding determined to strengthen 
the hands of the agent by receiving these into the church, 
and on Sunday, May 14, 1843, the Presbyterian church 
at Lapwai was augmented by thirty Nez Perce members. 
At the end of three days, which were employed by White 
in visiting the chiefs, and administering to the sick, it was 
announced that Ellis, with his braves, was approaching, 
and preparations made to receive the high chief with due 

Joseph s band, seven hundred strong, was drawn up 
with the agent s party in the center. On came Ellis men, 
about equal in number, mounted on good horses decorated 
with scarlet belts and headdresses, and when about fifty 
rods apart, Ellis forces rushed forward with a roar of mus 
ketry, the ear-piercing sound of the war-whistle, the beat 
ing of drums, the horrible yelling of savages in attack, 
the dashing to and fro on their mettlesome horses, while 
the froth from their nostrils flew in the faces of their 
pale-faced guests pale with a shock they were illy able 
to conceal. 

Says Hines: "The savage pomposity with which they 
were caparisoned, and the frightful manner in which they 


were daubed with paint, their fiery visages being striped 
with red, black, white, and yellow, were all calculated not 
only to inspire terror, but a dread of savage fury in the 
mind of every beholder. At the very height of the ex 
citement, when it appeared that the next whirl of the 
savage cavalry would trample us all beneath their feet, 
Ellis stretched himself up to his utmost height upon the 
back of his splendid charger, and waving his hand over 
the dark mass, all was quiet." 

All then dismounted to shake hands with the agent and 
his party, to whom they furnished horses to ride to a plain 
where the ceremony of honoring a brave who had killed 
twelve Blackfoot foes was to be performed. The honored 
warrior occupied the center of a large circle, and recited 
to an attentive audience the manner of killing each with 
the same particularity that Homer celebrated the deeds of 
his heroes, exhibiting the scalps and the arms taken. 
Then followed a rehearsal of a recent battle with the 
Blackfoot tribe, in which the Nez Perces were victorious, 
after which a war dance was performed, conducted by a 
chief called Lawyer, "in whom," says Hines, "is combined 
the cunning and shrewdness of the Indian, with the ability 
and penetration of the statesman." 

Lawyer, like Ellis, had received the rudiments of an 
English education at Red river. He was possessed of 
remarkable shrewdness, and had from the first meeting 
with the missionaries at the rendezvous of the fur compa 
nies in the mountains in 1836, remained their friend, and 
used his influence to quiet the Nez Perces in the vicinity 
of Lapwai, where he had his home, whenever such influ 
ence could be of advantage to them, and moreover to him 
self. Though inferior in rank at this time, his power in 
the tribe was nearly equal to that of Ellis. 

It had been White s intention to prevent Ellis from 
going down to Waiilatpu if possible, but on learning from 
him that he would act in favor of a reception of the laws, 
his objections were withdrawn; and a thousand horses 


wore required to transport the escort of men, women, and 
children which attended the agent on his return. Says 
Hines, in speaking of the journey, "I was greatly sur 
prised, in traveling through the Indian country, to find 
that the outward forms of Christianity are observed in 
almost every lodge. The Indians, generally, are nomi 
nally Christians, and about equally divided betwixt the 
Protestant and Catholic religions." 

As the Nez Perces approached, the Cayuses formed in 
ranks to receive them, the warriors of each nation in 
front. When within a convenient distance, there was a 
simultaneous rush forward "like two clouds meeting on a 
height," followed by maneuvers similar to those witnessed 
at Lapwai, the Indians working themselves into such a 
state of excitement that the white spectators began to fear 
a real engagement might result; and to give them time to 
recover themselves, Mr. Spalding, who had accompanied 
the Nez Perces, announced a prayer meeting at Dr. Whit 
man s house. To this Dr. White repaired, followed by the 
principal men, and quiet was restored. 

Mr. Hines relates that Tauitowe came forward in a very 
boisterous manner, inquiring "what all the disturbance 
was for?" and implies that it was because he was a Cath 
olic that he was incensed at the display made to receive a 
Protestant chief. It was far more reasonable to believe 
that Tauitowe s irritation was in consequence of a suspicion 
justly founded indeed that Dr. White had brought all 
these people to force the laws upon the Cayuses, by argu 
ment if not vi et arm/is. 

No council was called until the twenty-third, when the 
chiefs met Dr. White and his party to hear what might be 
said to them. It should be remembered that the only 
written reports we have of the proceedings are those of the 
United States agent, made to the government in terms 
general, and n altering to his own success; and the story as 
told by Mr. Hines, who expresses himself guardedly, but 
who entertained at the time a feeling of scarcely concealed 


contempt for the as he regarded him intriguing United 
States sub-Indian agent and would-be-governor of the 
colony of which Hines was a member. 

There is nothing to show that White was not as con 
scientious in the discharge of his duties as any man would 
have been in his place. At an early period in the history 
of the Wallamet colony he had a quarrel with Jason Lee, 
the superintendent of the mission, as he himself said, on 
account of an honest difference of opinion as to the best 
way of carrying forward the objects of the mission. The 
quarrel was a bitter one, and he* resigned, the home board, 
on his return to the states, disapproving of his leaving the 
mission. But the superintendent had the more or less 
cordial support of some of the most prominent men in the 
colony, of whom Mr. Hines was one, a cause sufficient, 
under the circumstances, to explain his attitude towards 
the sub-Indian agent. 

The council was called to order in a few grave words by 
Tauitowe, and his speech being interpreted, the subject 
that was uppermost in all minds began immediately to be 
discussed. "They were told," says Hines, "that much had 
been said about war, and we had come to assure them that 
they had nothing to fear from that quarter," and the pres 
ident of the United States had sent an agent only to regu 
late their intercourse with his people. They were assured 
that the government agent was not there to catch them in 
a trap like beaver, but to do them good ; and that if they 
would lay aside certain practices and prejudices, cease 
quarreling, cultivate the ground, and adopt good laws, 
they might become a great and happy people. 

So far, so good. But they were also informed that they 
were few in comparison with the white people; and that 
in order to accomplish anything, they must be united 
advice that was good for the Indians, but dangerous 
for the colonists. The chiefs were counseled to culti 
vate friendship towards each other, and to be considerate 
towards their people; and the people were told to be 


obedient to their chiefs, and remember them in their 
morning and evening prayers. This too, was good talk, 
but it did not touch the subject tying nearest the Cayuse 
heart, which was: Would Dr. Whitman return with many 
white people to take away their lands. 

An invitation was extended to the chiefs to address the 
meeting. Ellis declined, saying it would not be proper for 
the Nez Perces to speak before the Cayuses had adopted 
the laws thus signifying his desire that they should do 
so and the Cayuses replied that they would see the laws 
before adopting them. 

Hines says : " A speech was then delivered to the young 
men to impress them favorably with regard to the laws. 
They were told they would soon take the places of the old 
men, and they should be willing to act for the good of the 
people; that they should not go here and there and spread 
false reports about war; for that this had been the cause 
of all the difficulty and excitement that had prevailed 
among them during the winter." 

Gray, in his History of Oregon, remarks that this state 
ment was untrue; and so it was, not because it did riot 
assign a sectarian cause for the disturbances, as he would 
have done, but because it ignored the cause behind all, 
and laid the blame upon one of its natural consequences. 

When the laws had been read in the English and Nez 
Perce languages, Yellow Serpent (Peu-peu-mox-mox) 
arose. An Indian speech seldom is logical, seldom has 
any beginning, middle or ending, but often touches of 
unconscious eloquence or sharply pointed truths. The 
oratory on this occasion was a fair example of aboriginal 
rhetoric. Thus the Walla W^alla chief: "I have a mes 
sage to you. Where are these laws from? I would I 
might say they were from God. But I think they are 
from the earth, because from what I know of white men 
they do not honor these laws." 

It was then explained to him that the laws were recog 
nized by God and imposed on men in all civilized coun- 


tries. With this Yellow Serpent professed to be satisfied, 
saying that it was in accordance with such instructions as 
he bad received from Others, adding that he was glad it 
was so. because many of his people had been angry with 
him when he whipped them for crime, and had told him 
Clod would send him to hell for it, and he was glad to 
know it was pleasing to God." 

Tiloukaikt, on whose land Whitman lived, next spoke, 
saying, impatiently, "What do you read 4 the laws for be 
fore we take them? We do not take the laws because 
Tauitowe says so. He is a Catholic, and as a people we 
do not follow his worship." 

To this Dr. White replied that his religious views had 
nothing to do with the laws; that white people had differ 
ent modes of worship while obeying the same laws an 
entirely new idea to the Indians, who had only been given 
religion as law. 

Here a chief called The Prince arose. He had once 
been a man of influence among the Cayuses, but having 
been concerned in an effort to make Mr. Pambrun, in 
charge of Fort Walla Walla, pay higher prices for furs 
and horses, by seizing that gentleman, throwing him down, 
and stamping on his breast, had been deposed by the Hud 
son s Bay Company, and his power had dwindled to noth 
ing. "I understand," said The Prince, "You gave us 
liberty to examine every law all the words and lines 
and as questions are asked about it, we should get a better 
understanding of it. The people of this country have but 
one mind about it. I have something to say, but perhaps 
the people wall dispute me. As a body we have not had 
an opportunity to consult; therefore you come to us as in 
the wind, and speak to us as to the air, as we have no 
point, and we cannot speak because we have no point 

4 The word "read" here should undoubtedly be "receive." The sentence is 
without sense otherwise. Tiloukaikt was a haughty Cayuse, and would not brook the 
Walla Wallas taking precedence. He was also a thorough Presbyterian, on whom 
Dr. Whitman had spent much time and labor, and as his speech betrayed, resented 
any interference by Tauitowe, who was a Catholic. In this he copied his teachers 


before us. The business before us is whole, like a body; 
we have not dissected it. And perhaps you will say it is 
out of place for me to speak, because I am not a great 
chief. Once I had influence, but now I have but little." 

When he would have sat down he was told to go on, 
and said further: " When the whites first came among us 
we had no cattle; they have given us none. What we 
have now got we obtained by an exchange of property. 
A long time ago Lewis and Clarke came to this country, 
and I want to know what they said about us did they 
say they found friends or enemies here?" 

Being answered that they had been well spoken of, The 
Prince continued : " That is a reason why the whites should 
unite with us, and all become one people. Those who have 
been here before you have left us no memorial of their 
kindness by giving us presents. We speak by way of 
favor; if you have any benefits to bestow, we will then 
speak more freely. One thing that we can speak about 
is cattle, and the reason why we cannot speak out now is 
because we have not the thing before us. My people are 
poor and blind, and we must have something tangible. 
Other chiefs have bewildered me since I came; yet I am 
from an honorable stock. Promises which have been made 
to me and my fathers have not been fulfilled, and I am 
made miserable; but it will not answer for me to speak 
out, for my people do not consider me as their chief. One 
thing more; you have reminded me of what was prom 
ised me some time ago, and I am inclined to follow on and 
see, though I have been giving my beaver to the whites 
and have received many promises, and have always been 
disappointed ; I want to know what you are going to do." 

To this demand there being no answer, Illutin (Big 
Belly) arose and said, the old men were wearied with the 
wickedness of the young men, and that if he were alone 
he should say "Yes" at once to the laws; and that the 
reason the young men were not willing was because they 
had stolen property in their possession, and the laws con- 


demued them. He advised them, however, to accept the 
laws, for their own good. 

Here The Prince interrupted, desiring that the good the 
laws were to do them might be put in a tangible form. It 
was a long time, he said, since the whites had come into 
their country promising to do them good; but all had 
passed by without leaving any benefits behind. He re 
ferred to the competition between the Hudson s Bay 
Company and the American traders in 1832-1834, and 
said the company had then told them not to go after the 
Americans that they would not give them presents 
that they talked well, but did not perform, while the 
company both promised and performed. 

To this Dr. White replied that he was not come either 
as a missionary or a trader; and the council ended for that 
day without arriving at any definite conclusion. 

During the evening White was approached by Ellis and 
Lawyer, who informed him they expected pay for being 
chiefs, and desired to know how much salary would be 
given them, Ellis saying he thought he had already earned 
enough to make him rich. He received, however, no 
answer to his demand at that interview. 

On the next day, before resuming the business of the\ 
council, it became necessary to put the laws in practice, J 
the Kanaka who had accompanied the expedition as(f 
servant having been shot, though not fatally, in a quarrel f 
with a Nez Perce. The offender fled, but was pursued, 
arrested, and punished by forty lashes on his bare back. \ 

This matter attended to, the council proceeded, and after \ 
a number of speeches in effect like those of the previous 
day, a majority being in favor of the laws, the code was^/ 
adopted by the Cay uses; and after some electioneering. 
Tauitowe was chosen high chief. 

It is said, in Gray s History of Oregon, that Tauitowe was 
concerned with The Prince in the attack on Mr. Parnbrun, 
and that since that time he had been discountenanced by 
the Hudson s Bay Company, and dissensions sown among 


his people. This may have been the reason that before 
accepting the office of high chief he addressed the Cay uses, 
and inquired if they would lay aside their differences, and 
give him their cordial support, which they promised. 

But, on the following day, the people being reassembled, 
he resigned his office, giving as a reason the difference 
between his religion and that of most of his nation an 
evidence of his good sense, seeing how little it tpok to stir 
up strife among them. 5 

His brother, Five Crows, was proposed in his stead, when 
the Cayusss exclaimed, "our hearts go out towards him 
with a rush," and his election was nearly unanimous, a 
proof of popularity which affected him to tears. 

A feast, at which all sat down, red men and white men, 
Mrs. WhitH&an and the Indian women, closed the proceed 
ings, and /law as well as religion had become engrafted 
upon barbarism. The Indians went their way and the 
white men theirs. Mrs. Whitman returned with the 
agent s party to the lower country, being offered a place in 
one of the Hudson s Bay Company s boats. 

At The Dalles, Dr. White spent two months instructing 
the several tribes which resorted to this ancient trading 
center of the Columbia river Indians. "I begged money," 
he says, " and procured articles for clothing to the amount 
of a few hundred dollars, not to be given, but to be sold 
out to the industrious women for mats, baskets, and their 
various articles of manufacture, in order to get them 
clothed comfortably to appear at church; and enlisted the 
cheerful cooperation of the mission ladies in instructing 
them how to sew and make up their dresses." He also 

:> White had to settle an account with the Cayuses, which reminds one of Bonne- 
ville s narration of his experience with them. When Jason Lee first passed through 
the Cayuse country in 1834, he was presented with some horses, which he received 
as a token of friendship, not knowing that pay for presents was expected. As he 
had been in the country for nine years without making any return, during which 
time they had often reproached Dr. Whitman for the omission by his white brother 
to pay his debts, it was thought best to settle with the Cayuses at this time, which 
was done by agreeing to give tiiem a cow for each horse Lee had received. At the 
price cows were then bringing in the colony, this was magnificent pay. 


visited the sick, of whom there are always a large number 
in an Indian camp, and by these means secured the observ 
ance of the laws among them. 6 

"Concerning White s pay for these services, it transpires, through his Ten Years In 
Oreijon, that he had considerable trouble. He wrote to he secretary of war Hon. J. 
M. Porter in November that he had kept within the limit of three hundred dollars 
for interpreters the last year, and had built himself an office at the expense of two 
hundred and twenty-five dollars. His traveling expenses, the cost of feeding the 
Indians, and his bills at Vancouver, he asks shall be paid, otherwise "pray call me 
home at once." He further notifies the secretary that he " cannot sell drafts payable 
in Washington," and asks for an order to draft on London. White s treatment under 
the administration which succeeded that under which he was appointed, was cer 
tainly very unfair; and it was only after many years that his claim was recognized 
and compensation made. In the meantime, until he left Oregon in 1845, his seven 
hundred and fifty dollars salary was pieced out by loans from the company s officers 
at Vancouver, and made to carry on the trying and dangerous intercourse of the 
Indians and white people in Oregon for three years. 



Two events of great importance to Oregon took place in 
1843, the first, the organization of a provisional govern 
ment in May; the second, the arrival in the autumn of 
nearly nine hundred immigrants. 

Aware of the danger to be apprehended from the In 
dians on seeing a large body of white men with their 
families and stock coming into their country, Dr. White 
dispatched a letter to meet the immigration at Fort Hall, 
urging upon them to travel compactly, in companies of 
not less than fifty ; to treat the Indians kindly but with 
reserve, and to keep a vigilant watch upon their property. 
He warned them that if they came strolling along in small 
parties they would scarcely escape having difficulty with 
the Indians. 

And that was just what happened. The Indians nearest 
the mission of Waiilatpu, owing to their farailiarty with 
white people, and the temptation to take reprisal for fancied 
wrongs, were the most impertinent and thieving. They 
were, however, quick to see the benefits to themselves of 
the passage through their country of so many people with 
what appeared to them wonderful riches in cattle, wagons, 
household goods, and clothing, affording them opportuni 
ties of trade or theft as best suited their disposition or 
convenience. A great deal of thieving took place, and as 

* (72) 


the immigrants were forced to pay some article of clothing 
for having a stolen animal returned a transaction re 
peated every twenty-four hours the country along the 
Columbia river presented a fantastic show for months 
afterwards, of Indians dressed in the most incongruous 
and absurd combinations of savage and civilized costumes 
a spectacle witnessed more and more, with the passage 
of subsequent immigrant parties, for years. 

As none of the new comers remained in the Cay use 
country, the jealous fears of the mission Indians appeared 
to be for the time allayed. They had been able in a few 
instances to exchange a fat bullock for a lean heifer, with 
a view to stock-raising, which gratified their ambition to 
become property holders, and furnished a reasonable 
motive in addition to the other, for the maintenance of 
peace in the region inhabited by the Indians under the 
charge of the Presbyterians. 

At The Dalles the Methodists withdrew their missiona 
ries in the spring of 1844, leaving only H. B. Brewer in 
charge of the houses and other property at that place. 
Left to their own devices, and the temptations offered, 
these incorrigible rogues were not likely to improve in 
their manners, and did not. On the contrary, one of their 
chiefs, Cockstock by name, in November of this year came 
to the house of Dr. White in the Wallamet valley, intend 
ing to take his life; but finding him absent, wreaked his 
vengeance on the agent s house, breaking every window 
in it; the occasion for this display of wrath being the 
punishment of one of his relative for seizing Mr. Perkins 
in his own house, and attempting to tie, with the inten 
tion of flogging him, for some act displeasing to them. 

Shortly after this visit of The Dalles chief, who, however, 
was not identified, a party of Klamaths and Molallas, 
painted and armed, rode down the valley seemingly bent 
on mischief, their proper countries lying from fifty to three 
hundred miles away. Dr. White, who was among the 
first to see them, determined to depend upon finesse rather 


than force to frustrate any designs they might have of a 
hostile nature ; and seeing them go to the lodge of a Cala- 
pooya chief, named Caleb by the Americans, immediately 
sent an invitation to this chief to call on him in the morn 
ing and bring his friends, as he desired to have a talk with 
them. Accordingly, all came next day, and were received 
in the most friendly manner, being invited by White to 
walk over his plantation and see his crops and herds. 
Incidentally he asked Caleb if he was prepared to give his 
friends a feast, and the chief acknowledging his poverty, 
White at once gave him permission to shoot down a fat ox, 
to which he added pease and flour, with salt, and soon in 
the delights of feasting the stern features of the visitors 
relaxed. Their hostile sentiment faded out, and of their 
own option they made overtures of friendship the follow 
ing morning. To this proposition White answered that he 
would call on them next day with Mr. Jesse Applegate, an 
immigrant of the previous year, who had already become 
a leader in colonial affairs, and in the meantime they 
should feast and enjoy themselves. All this courtesy put 
them in a fine humor, so that he had no difficulty in 
obtaining their consent to meet him in the spring with 
their people, and use their influence in persuading their 
tribes to enter into a compact with the white population. 
The interview ended cheerfully, the Indians riding away 
laughing and singing. 

But the end was not yet. During the interview at 
Caleb s lodge, Cockstock, the chief before mentioned, who 
was still personally unknown to White, entered the lodge, 
behaving ungraciously to all present, but joining the 
party when it set out for home. During the journey he 
managed to revive an old feud between the Klamaths and 
Molallas, and at the crossing of a river one faction set 
upon the other, killing every one opposed to them. For 
this wrong the agent could offer no redress. 

In the latter part of February, 1844, this same Cock- 
stock, who had been behaving in an insolent and disor- 


derly manner, together with a few followers, made renewed 
threats against the life of White, who was unable to arrest 
him, and at last offered a reward of one hundred dollars 
for the delivery into his hands of the culprit, to be tried 
by the Cayuses or Nez Perces according to the laws recog 
nized by them. 

A few days afterwards Cockstock with his half dozen 
adherents entered Oregon City at midday, all horribly 
painted, riding from house to house, showing their arms, 
and terrifying the inmates. As his following was so small 
the men on whom devolved the protection of the families 
regarded the demonstration as drunken bluster, and with 
what patience they could, bore the infliction for several 
hours, when Cockstock, finding he could not provoke a 
quarrel with the white inhabitants in that manner, retired 
to an Indian village on the west side of the river with the 
purpose of inciting its occupants to attack and burn the 
settlement. Failing in this, he obtained an interpreter 
and returned to the east side, declaring that he would call 
the Americans to account for pursuing him with an intent 
to arrest and punish him. 

By this time it became noised about that this was the 
Indian wanted by Dr. White; and the white men losing 
patience, and some desiring the reward offered, made a 
simultaneous rush towards the boat landing to intercept 
Cockstock "the wealthiest men in town," says Dr. White 
in his report, " promising to stand by them to the amount 
of one thousand dollars each." 

In the confusion of the meeting at the landing, arms 
were discharged on both sides at the same moment, and 
George W. Le Breton, a young man who had served as 
clerk of the first legislative committee of Oregon, and 
recorder of the public meeting held Jul} T 5, 1843, estab 
lishing a provisional government, was wounded by Cock- 
stock in an effort to seize him. Seeing that Le Breton was 
unarmed, a mulatto, who had an account of his own to 
sot.lle with the chief, ran to his assistance, striking the 


Indian on the head with the barrel of his rifle, soon 
dispatching him. 

The remaining Indians, after shooting their guns and 
arrows at random among the people, took refuge on the 
bluff above the town, where they continued to fire down 
upon the citizens, wounding two men who were quietly at 
work a Mr. Rogers and a Mr. Wilson. Arms being now 
generally resorted to, the Indians were soon dislodged with 
a loss of one wounded and a horse killed. Of the three 
Americans wounded, Le Breton and Rogers died from 
the effect of poison introduced into the system by arrow 

Such was the first result of Dr. White s effort to arrest 
The Dalles chief. In a short time he was visited by 
seventy painted and armed Indians from that place, who 
had come to extort payment for the loss of their common 
relative. The explanation of the affair which White gave 
them, showed, that whereas they had lost one man, the 
Americans had lost two, and that the balance of indem 
nity was on their side; but as a matter of kindness and 
compassion he would give the widow of the chief two 
blankets, a dress, and a handkerchief; and in this equi 
table manner, the matter was disposed of, as also a prece 
dent established. 

With this exception, no white blood was shed through 
Indian hostilities in the Wallamet valley, although the 
agent was frequently employed in settling with them for 
/the killing of an ox belonging to a white man. When 
White, with effected sternness, reproved the chief of some 
starving band for such a theft, he was met with the com 
plaint of game made scarce by white hunters, and the 
necessity to live. He was compelled to enforce white 
men s laws against a helpless people to whose condition 
they were never meant to apply, because to do otherwise 
would leave the Indians at the mercy of individual jus 
tice. For one old ox killed and eaten, the band living on 
Tualatin plains was compelled to pay eight JLOTSCS and one 


rifle. In another case where a cow had been slaughtered 
by "a hungry and mischievous lodge," they were pur 
sued, and resisting arrest, one Indian was killed and an 
other wounded. The pursuers lost one horse killed and 
one wounded. Yet no one was much disturbed by such 
occurrences; and indeed, the early Oregon settlers were^ 
usually careful not to give the natives cause of offense. 

It was about this time, however, that the spirits militant 
among the later colonists determined to frighten the 
Hudson s Bay Company into a humble attitude towards 
the Americans by the organization of a company, armed 
and trained for the protection of the colony against aggres 
sion by the English, and invasion by the native population. 
This company, the first military organization in Oregon, 
or the whole northwest, was authorized by the provisional 
government, and was known as the " Oregon Rangers." 
It was officered by Thomas D. Kaiser, captain ; J. L. Mor 
rison, first lieutenant; Fendal C. Cason, ensign; and held 
its first meeting for drill at the Oregon institute March 11, 
1844. The course of the executive committee in calling 
out this company to " avenge the national insult, and seek 
redress for this astounding loss" namely, the before 
mentioned slaughter of an ox was ridiculed by White in 
his report to the secretary of war. History has not re 
corded any deeds of prowess performed by the rangers, 
whose organization was aimed as much at the Hudson s 
Bay Company as at the Indians. 1 

For one year after Dr. Whitman s return to his mission, / 
quiet had reigned in the upper country. The Indians/ 
there, as has been said, were filled with an ambition to / 
acquire wealth by stock-raising, and not being able to pur- f 
chase many animals from the immigration, had formed a ] 

1 As a relic of Oregon s first attempt at government, when it had a triple execu 
tive, the following document is interesting : 

The people of the temtory of Oregon To nil to whom these presents s/iall come : 

Know ye, that pursuant to the constitution and laws of our said territory, we have 
appointed and constituted, and by these presents do appoint and constitute J. L- 
Morrison first lieutenant of the first volunteer company of rangers of said territory, 


company of about forty Cayuses, Walla Wallas, and a few 
Spokanes, to go to California and exchange peltries and 
horses for Spanish cattle. This was a courageous under 
taking, as their route lay through the country of the 
warlike Klamaths, Rogue Rivers, and Shastas. But the 
expedition, led by Peu-peu-mox-mox, was well mounted 
and armed, the chiefs attired in English costume, and 
their followers in dressed skins, presenting a fine and formi 
dable appearance to the wilder denizens of the southern 
interior ; and they arrived safely at their destination with 
only some slight skirmishing by the way. 

The reception met with by the expedition was cordial, 
the Spaniards being quite willing to dispose of their numer 
ous herds at the good prices exacted of their customers. 
As for the native Oregonians, they found California much 
to their liking, and roamed about at pleasure until mis 
fortune overtook them in the following manner: Being 
on an excursion to procure elk and deer skins, they fell in 
with a company of native California bandits whom they 
fought, and from whom they captured twenty-two horses 
which had been stolen from their Spanish or American 

On returning with their booty to the settlements, some 
of the horses were claimed by the original owners, under 
the Spanish law that required animals sold to bear a trans 
fer mark. As these bore only the brand of their former 
owners, the Spaniards claimed them. The Oregonians, on 
the contrary, contended that while if any property were 

with rank from April 3, 1844, to hold the said office in the manner specified in and by 
our said constitution and laws- 

In testimony whereof we have caused our seal for military commissions to be 
hereunto affixed. 

Witness, D. HILL, ESQ., 


Executive committee of said territory, and commanders-in-chief of 
all the militia and volunteer companies of said territory. 

[ L. s.] Dated at the Willamette Falls the third day of April, in the year of 

our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-four. 
Attest : O. JOHNSON, Sect. 


taken by a member of any allied tribe they were bound 
to give it up, they considered any property captured from 
a common enemy as belonging to the captors; and hence 
that the horses taken by them from robbers, at the hazard 
of their lives, belonged thenceforth to them. 

To this reasoning the Spaniards were deaf, but offered 
to compromise by allowing ten cows for the horses, and 
finally fifteen, to all of which overtures Peu-peu-mox-mox 
answered not, except by a sullen silence, and the negotia 
tions were broken off. Before any settlement was arrived 
at, an American recognizing a mule belonging to him 
among the captured animals, claimed it, with the declara 
tion that he would have it. 

Among the Oregonians was a young chief named Elijah 
lledding, a son of the Walla Walla chief, who had been 
1 aught at the mission school in the Wallamet, and was a 
convert to Christianity. When he heard the American 
declare his intention to take his mule, he quickly stepped 
into his lodge, loaded his rifle, and coming out, said sig 
nificantly: "Now go and take your mule." 

The American inquired, in alarm, if he was going to be 
shot. "No," said Elijah, "I am going to shoot yonder- 
eagle," pointing to a neighboring pine tree; and the Amer 
ican being unarmed, precipitately left the place. On the 
iollowing Sunday a part of the cattle company went to 
Suiter s fort, where religious services were to be held, and 
among them Tauitowe and Elijah. During the afternoon 
the two chiefs were enticed into an apartment, where they 
were confronted by several Americans, who had come to 
California via Oregon, and had suffered annoyances from 
the Indians along the Columbia river, who now applied 
such approbrious epithets as "thieves" and "dogs" to the 
Cayuses and Walla Wallas indiscriminately, and a quarrel 
ensued, in the midst of which the American who had been 
threatened by Elijah, drawing a pistol, said: "The other 
day you were going to kill me now I am going to kill 


On hearing this Elijah, as it was told to White by the 
Indians, begged to be allowed to " pray a little first," and 
while kneeling, was shot dead. Other authorities have 
said that Elijah was a turbulent fellow, and deserving of 
the fate he met. But the fact remains that it was the 
obstinacy of Peu-peu-mox-mox in refusing to be governed 
by the laws of a strange country in which he found him 
self, that brought about the misfortune which overtook 
the Indian cattle company. They were driven out of 
California by Spanish authorities, who pursued them with 
cannon, arriving home in the spring of 1845, having left 
the cattle, for which they had paid, in California, and 
having endured many hardships by the way. 

The effect of the disastrous failure of the cattle company 
and the death of Elijah was to deepen in the minds of the 
mission Indians their mistrust of the white race, and par 
ticularly of Americans; for, however much they may have 
been at fault, they were in no mood to make allowances 
for the natural consequences of that fault, but were instead 
in that dangerous temper which caused Dr. Whitman to 
send a hasty arid excited communication to the sub-Indian 
agent, expressing his fears that Elijah s death would be 
avenged upon his mission. And following immediately 
upon this letter, White received a visit from Ellis, who 
had been delegated to visit both himself and Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin, to get from them an opinion as to what should 
be done in their case. 

"I apprehended," says White, "there might be much 
difficulty in adjusting it, particularly as they lay much 
stress upon the restless, disaffected scamps late from Will 
amette to California, loading them with the vile epithets 
of dogs, t thieves/ etc., from which they believed, or 
affected to, that the slanderous reports of our citizens 
caused all their loss and disasters, and therefore held us 

According to Ellis, the Walla Wallas, Cayuses, Nez 
Perces, Spokanes, Pend d Oreilles, and Snakes were on 


terms of amity and alliance; and a portion of them were 
for raising two thousand warriors and marching at once 
to California to take reprisal by capture and plunder, en 
riching themselves by the spoils of the enemy. Another 
part were more cautious, wishing first to take advice, and 
to learn whether the white people in Oregon would remain 
neutral. A third party were for holding the Oregon 
colony responsible, because Elijah had been killed by an 

There was business, indeed, for an Indian agent with no 
government at his back, and no money to carry on either 
war or diplomacy. But Dr. White was equal to it. He 
arranged a cordial reception for the chief among the col 
onists; planned to have Dr. McLoughlin divert his mind 
by referring to the tragic death of his own son by treachery, 
which enabled him to sympathize with the father and rela 
tives of Elijah ; and, on his own part, took him to visit the 
schools and his own library, and in every way treated the 
chief as if he were the first gentleman in the land. Still 
further to establish social equality, he put on his farmer s 
garb and began working on his plantation, in which labor 
Ellis soon joined him, and the two discussed the benefits 
already enjoyed by the ^native population as the result of 
intelligent labor. 

Nothing, however, is so convincing to an Indian as a 
present, and here, it would seem, Dr. White must have 
failed, but not so. In the autumn of 1844, thinking to 
prevent trouble with the immigration by enabling the chiefs 
in the upper country to obtain cattle without violating the 
laws, lie had given them some ten-dollar treasury drafts to 
be exchanged with the immigrants for young stock, which 
drafts the immigrants refused to accept, not knowing where 
they should get them cashed. To heal the wound caused 
by this disappointment, White now sent word by Ellis to 
these chiefs to come down in the autumn with Dr. Whitman 
and Mr. Spalding, to hold a council over the California 
affair, and to bring with them their ten-dollar drafts to 


exchange with him for a cow and a calf each, out of his 
own herds. He also promised them that if they would 
postpone their visit to California until the spring of 1847, 
and each chief assist him to the amount of two beaver 
skin?, he would establish a manual labor and literary 
school for their children, besides using every means in his 
power to have the trouble with the Californians adjusted, 
and would give them from his private funds five hundred 
dollars with which to purchase young cows in California. 
It must, indeed, have been a serious breach to heal, 
when the Indian agent felt forced to pledge his own means 
to such an amount. That he succeeded in averting for the 
time an impending disaster should be placed to his credit, 
even though he was prevented redeeming all his pledges 
through the loss of his office by a change in the form of 
the provisional government of Oregon, and his ambition 
to figure as the delegate of this government to the United 
States. 2 He did, however, write to Sutter, and the agent 
of the United States government in California, Thomas 0. 
Larkin ; a good deal of correspondence on the subject being 
still extant, from which it appears that Sutter had given 
the Walla Wallas as they were all called in California 
permission to hunt for wild horses to be exchanged for 
cattle. In the quarrel which arose between Elijah and 
Grove Cook, an American, over the ownership of a mule, 
the young chief was shot in Sutter s office during his tem 
porary absence. The white witnesses all agreed that 

-It is a somewhat curious circumstance that Dr. Elijah White, who certainly 
achieved, with rare exceptions, the good attempted for the Oregon colony in his 
official capacity, left behind him in this country, instead of a good reputation, a very 
unfriendly feeling. That most of it was due to jealousy must be admitted, there 
beiug no other solution. In the mission colony the friends of Jason Lee were against 
him ; and among these, as well as the immigrant settlers and members of the legis 
lature, he was suspected of having designs on the delegateship, whereas both factions 
had other preferences. But that he was justified in feeling himself a proper person 
to become a delegate, or to accept an appointment, was shown by the action of the 
provisional government in asking him to become the bearer of a memorial to con 
gress. The opportunity offered to attend to his own personal affairs was of course 
acceptable ; but owing to certain influences the legislature later resolved : "That it 
was not the intention of this house in passing resolutions in favor of Dr. E. White to 
recommend him to the government of the United States as a suitable person to fill 
any office in this territory": See Oregon Archives, *(), too, 116. Before leaving for 


Elijah was the aggressor; but do not white witnesses 
in similar circumstances always agree to the guilt of the 

It may as well be mentioned here that in the autumn of 
1846, Peu-peu-mox-mox went again to California with a 
company of forty men, to demand justice for the killing 
of his son, their arrival on the frontier causing great con 
cern and excitement. Commodore Stockton coming up 
from Mon-terey to San Francisco, and a military company 
being sent to protect exposed points. 

Peu-peu-mox-mox, whatever his intentions may have 
been in the outset, seeing that the country was now in the 
possession of Americans, and that both Americans and 
Spaniards were armed, declared that he only came to 
trade, and afterwards offered his services to Major Fremont 
to fight the Californians. The adventurers acquitted them 
selves well, and returned to Oregon with increased respect 
for the Americans as warriors, all their previous experience 
of them having been as peace men "women," they called 
the Oregon immigrants whom they insulted and robbed, 
because they offered no resistance to their annoyances on 
the road. Indeed, they had been warned that they must 
not judge the fighting qualities of the people of the United 
States by the prudent forbearance of men encumbered by 
families and herds; and no doubt this lesson was enforced 
by what they saw in California. 

The provisional legislature created the office of superin- 

the states in August, 1845, Dr. White spent several weeks in searching for a pass 
through the Cascade mountains, more favorable than the route by Mount Hood, 
which had been partially opened the previous year. In this unsuccessful expedi 
tion, fitted out at his own expense, he was accompanied by Batteus Du Guerre, Joseph 
Charles Saxton, Orus Brown, Moses Harris, John Edmunds, and two others ; and they 
examined the country from the Santiam to the head of the Wallamet valley without 
finding what they sought ; named Spencer s butte, after the then late secretary of 
war, John C. Spencer ; and explored the Siuslaw river to its mouth. White was no 
coward. He returned to the states with only Harris, Du Guerre, Saxton, Brown, 
Chapman, and two or three others, although traveling this route was becoming more 
dangerous every year. Harris deserted at Des Chutes river, remaining in Oregon. 
About the last of October the party was captured by the Pawnees ana robbed, White 
being beaten into unconsciousness, but rescued through the favor of a chief. He 
finally reached Washington, delivering his messages, settling his accounts, and retir 
ing to his home near Ithaca, removing some years afterwards to California. 


endent of Indian affairs in August, 1845, and bestowed it 
on the governor, George Abernethy. The condition of 
Oregon about this time was, in the minds of its white 

nhabitants, full of peril, not only from possible Indian 
wars, but on account of the resolute attitude taken by 
American statesmen towards Great Britain on the question 
)f international boundary. Notwithstanding the fact that 

he officers of the Hudson s Bay Company had joined with 
the Americans in a political compact, and taken an oath 
to support the provisional government so far as it did not 
interfere with their allegiance to their respective govern 
ments, there was the prospect, as it appeared to the colo 
nists, of a war between the two nations, which should 
force a conflict between the Hudson s Bay Company and 
the colonists. In such an emergency it was remembered, 
with foreboding, that the Indian population was sure to 
take advantage of the opportunity thus offered of avenging 
all their real and imagined wrongs upon the Americans. 
The immigration of 1845 numbered about three thou 
sand persons, and almost doubled the white population of 
Oregon; that of 1844 having been about seven hundred 
and fifty. But if their numbers were small their patriotism 
was large, and they made no secret of the fact that some 
of them had come all the way from Missouri to burn Fort 
Vancouver. So many threats of a similar nature had 
found utterance ever since the first large party of 1843, 
that the officers of the British company had thought it 
only prudent to strengthen their defenses, and keep a sloop 
of war lying in the Columbia. What the company simply 
did for defense, the settlers construed into an offense, and 
both parties were on the alert for the first overt act. 

It has already been mentioned that the passage down 
the Columbia was one of excessive hardship and danger, 
each immigration having endured incredible suffering, 
and also loss, in coming from The Dalles to the Wallamet 
valley; families and wagons being shipped on rafts to the 
cascades, where a portage had to be made of several miles, 


and whence another voyage had to be undertaken in such 
poor craft as could be constructed or hired, taking weeks 
to complete this portion of the long journey from the 
states, in the late and rainy months of the year ; the oxen 
and herds being driven down to Vancouver on the north 
side of the river, or being left in the upper country to be 
herded by the Indians. The rear of the immigration of 
1844 remained at Whitman s mission over winter, and 
several families at The Dalles. The larger body of 1845 
divided, some coming down the river, and others crossing 
the Cascade mountains by two routes, but each enduring 
the extreme of misery. John Minto, then a young man, 
says of 1844: "I found men in the prime of life lying 
among the rocks (at the Cascades), seeming ready to die. 
I found there mothers with their families, whose hus 
bands were snowbound in the Cascade mountains, with 
out provisions, and obliged to kill and eat their game 
dogs. * * There was scarcely a dry day, and the 

snow line was nearly down to the river." These scenes 
were repeated in 1845 with a greater number of sufferers, 
one wing of the long column taking a cut-off by follow 
ing which they became lost, and had all but perished in 
a desert country. "Despair settled upon the people; old 
men and children wept together, and the strongest could 
not speak hopefully." "Only the women," says one nar 
rator, " continued to show firmness and courage." 

The perils and pains of the Plymouth Rock pilgrims 
were not greater than those of the pioneers of Oregon, and 
there are few incidents in history more profoundly sad 
than the narratives of hardships undergone in the settle 
ment of this country. The names of the men who pioneered 
the wagon rpad around the base of Mount Hood are worthy 
of all remembrance. They were Joel Palmer, Henry M. 
Knighton, W. H. Rector, and Samuel K. Barlow in partic 
ular; but there were many others, even women, who 
crossed the mountains late in the year of 1845 on pack 
horses, barely escaping starvation through the exertions 


of Barlow and Rector in gelling through to Oregon City, 
and forwarding to them a pack-train with provisions. 
The wagons, which it was impossible to move beyond 
Rock creek, were abandoned, the goods cached, except 
such necessaries as could be packed on half starved oxen, 
the men walking in the snow, and all often soaked with 
rain. Children with feet almost bare endured this terrible 
journey, the like of which can never again occur on this 
continent. 3 

Some of the more thoughtful men of the colony, taking 
into consideration the peculiar inaccessibility of western 
Oregon from the east, and the possibility of war with 
England, asked themselves how United States troops were 
to come to their assistance in such a case. The natural 
obstacles of the Columbia- river pass were so great as to be 
almost positively exclusive in the absence of the usual 
means of transportation, and the stationing of but a small 
force, or a single battery, at the Cascades, would effectually 
exclude an army. 

The colonists were still expecting the passage of Linn s 
bill, and with it the long-promised military protection; 
but there was the possibility that at the very moment of 
greatest need they might be left at the mercy of an invad 
ing foe, and its savage allies, while the troops sent to their 
relief were fenced out and left to starve east of the moun 
tains, or to die exhausted with their long march and the 
effort to force the passage. of the cascades. 

Among the heads and hearts troubled by these fears was 
Jesse Applegate. He was very friendly with the officers 
of the Hudson s Bay Company, who had so kindly rescued 
him and his countrymen from starvation in 1843; and so 
highly was he esteemed by them that they had yielded 

3 White has been credited with being the cause of the disasters which overtook 
the portion of the immigration which was lost. He mentions meeting the several 
companies on the road as he went east, but says nothing of giving them advice con 
cerning their route. It is not incredible that he spoke to them of his belief that a 
pass through the mountains existed at the head of the Wallamet valley, from an 
, expedition in search of which lie had just returned. At all events, their guide, 
Stephen H. L. Meek, undertook to pilot them to it, and failed. As many as twenty 
persons died from this mistake. 


to his arguments in favor of joining in the articles of 
compact under which the colony was governed; but he 
was aware that agents of the British government were 
anxiously inquiring whether troops could be brought from 
Canada to Fort Vancouver by the Hudson s bay trail, and 
he knew that although the company, as such, deprecated 
war, the individuals composing it were as loyal to their 
government as he to his own. 

Under this stress of circumstances, the colonists pro- 
posed to raise money to pay the expense of a survey of the 
country towards the south, and to open a road should the 
survey be successful, which should lead out of the Wall- 
amet valley towards Fort Hall. A company was accord 
ingly formed in May, 1846, under the leadership of Levi 
Scott, which proceeded as far as the southern limit of the 
Umpqua valley, but was compelled, by the desertion of 
some of its members as they approached the Rogue river 
country, to return home. 

Jesse Applegate, who from the first had urged the ueces- 
sity of this exploration, now determined to lead a company 
in persons, which expedition, as organized, consisted of 
fifteen men, namely, Jesse Applegate, Levi Scott, Lindsay, 
Applegate, David Goff, Benjamin Burch, John Scott, Moses 
Harris, William Parker, Henry Bogus, John Owens, John 
Jones, Robert Smith, Samuel Goodhue, Bennett Osborne, 
and William Sportsman, who left rendezvous in Polk 
county June twenty-second. 

By using great vigilance the party passed safely through 
the Rogue river valley, though they observed signs of a 
skirmish with the Indians by a much larger party which 
had started for California two weeks earlier, and had their* 
horses stolen, being detained in camp until just before the* 
explorers came up. The Indians, seeing the second com 
pany, allowed the first to escape; but finding the road- 
hunters exceedingly wary, made no attempt to molest 
them, and contented themselves with pursuing the Cali- 
fornia company to the Siskiyou mountains. 


An itinerary of the journey of the explorers of the 
southern immigrant road to Oregon would hardly be in 
place here. It is sufficient to know that they discovered 
and opened a route to Fort Hall, which they induced a 
part of the immigration to follow; and that misfortunes 
overtook the travelers on this, as well as the northern 
route, owing partly to neglect of discipline, and partly 
X also to early storms encountered in the canon of the Ump- 
qua. Such things must be where large companies invade 
the wilderness without sufficient forethought. The worst 
of all was the animosity religiously cherished by those 
who suffered in person and property against those who 
meant to do them and the colony a favor. Those who got 
into Oregon any way they could had only themselves to 
blame for their troubles; but those who were shown a way 
which was not after all safe from accident, were tempted 
to cast the blame of their misfortunes upon their guides. 
As to depredations by the natives, they were unavoidable 
in whatsoever direction lay the route of travel. The In 
dians of the Humboldt valley, and the Modoc and Klamath 
" countries, were troublesome, lying in ambush and shooting 
their poisoned arrows at men and animals. This led to 
retaliation, and several Indians and two white jnen were 
killed in skirmishes. It was raising up enemies for the 
future, whose hatred would have to be washed out in 
blood. Fortunate was it that at that time these Indians 
were not aware of their own strength. Wild men they 
were who had not yet learned from traders, or missiona 
ries, or Indian agents, to restrain their savage impulses; 
nor had they learned from contact and example the art of 
war, which at a later period they practiced with signal 

^ The immigration of 1846 was not large, not more than 

Q one thousand persons. It found the Oregon colony pros- 

perous, and more quiet than the previous year on the 

Indian question. The presence of an English and an 

American war fleet in the Pacific was not unknown to the 


natives, and had the effect to intimidate the dissatisfied 
and ignorant, at the same time it caused the more intelli 
gent to ask themselves what part they were to be allowed 
to play in the distribution of the continent among nations. 
The Indians and colonists alike stood still to see what was 
to be done with them. 

News of the settlement of the northern boundary arrived 
by way of the Sandwich Islands, before the meeting of the 
legislature, but with it no intimation that Linn s bill had 
been passed organizing the territory of Oregon ; but it was 
taken for granted that such news must very soon follow, 
and with it the protection of United States arms and laws. 

In the meantime, as a means of peace, the majority of 
the people, with the governor, actively promoted temper 
ance. Temperance societies were organized in the colony 
at its very commencement. With the first provisional 
form of government, temperance laws were enacted. Dr. 
White, as Indian agent, enforced the United States laws 
against selling liquor to Indians; and the legislature of 
1845 passed a prohibitory law against the introduction or 
manufacture of ardent spirits. 

Notwithstanding all this care a certain amount of what 
was called "blue ruin," was manufactured out of molasses, 
and sold to the Indians about Oregon City, who noisily 
chanted the praises of "blue lu " in the ears of the inhabit-* 
ants when they would have preferred to have been asleep. 
In his message to the legislature of 1840, Governor Aber- * 
nethy said: "During the last year, persons taking advan 
tage of the defect in our law, have manufactured and sold 
ardent spirits. We have seen the effects (although the 
manufacture was on a small scale) in the midnight carous 
als among the Indians during their fishing season, and 
while they had property to dispose of; and, let me ask, 
what would be the consequences if the use of it should be 
general in the territory? History may hereafter write the 
page in letters of blood." History, however, has no such 
charge against the Oregon colonists, as that the} r caused 


bloodshed by the introduction of intoxicating drinks 
among the natives ; or that they wantonly, at any time, 
put the lives of the people in peril, the affair of Cockstock, 
at Oregon City, being the most bloody of any incident in 
the colonial history of western Oregon. And perhaps a 
good deal of this immunity from war was owing to the 
caution of the governor, who never failed to keep the 
subject before the people. 

Once again a year rolled around without bringing to 
Oregon the long expected news that congress had passed 
an act organizing a territory west of the Rocky mountains. 
An immigration of nearly four thousand souls had poured 
into the Wallamet valley, swelling the population to about 
eight thousand, making the situation still more critical. 
There had not been lacking since the first efforts at local 
government a certain element in the colonial life which 
favored setting up an independent state; and the failure 
of congress to stretch out its hand and take what was so 
generously offered it, created a discontent which grew with 
every fresh disappointment. We find Dr. White, in 1843, 
writing to the secretary of war, that "should it (the Oregon 
bill) at last fail of passing the lower house, suffer me to 
predict, in view of what so many have had to undergo, in 
person and property, to get to this distant country, it will 
create a disaffection so strong as to end only in open 

Dr. McLoughlin also wrote, in 1844, to a member of the 
Hudson s Bay Company in Canada, " They declare that if 
in ten years the boundary is not settled, they will erect 
themselves into an independent state." The annual fresh 
importation of patriotic Americans served to discourage 
the independent movement; but the legislature of 1845 
would not adopt the name "Oregon territory," because 
congress had not erected any such organization. The 
boundary was at last settled, and still Oregon got nothing 
but promises, and those at long intervals of painful 


In his message to the legislature December 7, 1847, 
Governor Abernethy said: "Our relations with the In 
dians become every year more embarrassing. They see 
the white man occupy their land, rapidly filling up the 
country, and they put in a claim for pay. They have 
been told that a chief would come out from the United 
States and treat with them for their lands; they have been 
told this so often that they begin to doubt it; at all 
events/ they say, he will not come till we are all dead, 
and then what good will blankets do us? We want some 
thing now. This leads to trouble between the settler and 
the Indians about him. Some plan should be devised by 
which a fund can be raised and presents made to the 
Indians of sufficient value to keep them quiet until an 
agent arrives from the United States. A number of rob 
beries have been committed by the Indians in the upper 
country, upon the emigrants, as they were passing through 
their territory. This should not be allowed to pass. An 
appropriation should be made by you sufficient to enable 
the superintendent of Indian affairs to take a small party 
in the spring and demand restitution of the property, or 
its equivalent in horses." 

Alas, the blow so long apprehended had fallen, and the 
isolated Oregon colony, cut off by thousands of miles from 
the parent government, without troops, without money, 
without organization of forces or arms, was suddenly 
brought face to face with the horrors of an Indian war. 



To UNDERSTAND how the Cayuse war so suddenly broke 
out, it is necessary to go back to 1842, when Dr. Whitman 
went east, as the Indians understood, to bring enough of 
his people to punish them for their acts of violence towards 
him. They saw him return with a large number, but 
with no fighting men; and none of those who came re 
mained in their country. This was a failure they were 
quick to take advantage of, and while it had in it no 
cause for war, they felt more free to practice their annoy 
ances and thefts on Americans, while th^y exhibited their 
contempt for their former teachers by abandoning the 
schools. From 1843 to 1847 there was very little progress 
made in the education of the Cayuses and Nez^gerces, 
and, in fact, Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding had almost 
ceased to teach, except by example, but attended to the 
affairs of their stations, and waited, as did all Oregon, for 
the act of congress which was to give this country the 
protection of the government of the United States. 

In 1844 Dr. Whitman was able to secure help from the 
passing immigration, a number of families wintering at 
his station. He also adopted a family of orphan children, 
seven in number, whose parents had died on the journey, 
three boys and four girls. 



in the spring the immigrants went on to the Walla met 
valley, and in the autumn of 1845 and 1846 there were 
other families who wintered at Waiilatpu. 

During all this time the Cayuses had been growing 
more insolent and threatening, and the gentlemen of the 
Hudson s Bay Company, who knew the Indian character 
thoroughly, frequently entreated the doctor to go away. 
But the hope of the safety to be extended from his gov 
ernment, kept him at his post, until the growing impa 
tience of the Indians, after the unfortunate California ( 
expedition, finally convinced him of the imminence of 
the danger, and caused him to arrange for a possible 
removal to The Dalles by purchasing the property of the 
Methodist mission at that place, which he put in charge 
of his nephew, Perrin B. Whitman. 

At the same time, however, such was the courageous 
persistency of the man, that he, as late as September, 1847, 
purchased machinery for a new flouring-mill for Waiilatpu 
and transported it to his station, telling Joel Palmer, whom 
he met on the Umatilla, that he was going on, just as he 
always intended, but if the Indians continued their hostile 
policy, he should break up the mission, and make his 
home at The Dalles. To a body of the immigrants on the 
Umatilla he delivered an address, advising great caution, 
and expressing his apprehensions of an Indian war as the 
result of any indiscretions on the part of the new comers. 
John E. Ross has said, that acting on Whitman s advice, 
his party encamped early, took their evening meal, and 
when it was dark moved to a secluded spot away from the 
rond to avoid being molested, and getting into an affray. 
James Henry E;own has spoken of the doctor s warnings 
to the immigrants of that year; and so has Ralph C. Geer, 
J. W. Grim, and Peter W. Crawford. Crawford kept a 
journal, and from that record many facts have been gath 
ered. The evidence is ample that Dr. Whitman knew 
upon what dangerous ground he was treading. 

Blood had already been spilled at The Dalles, a Mr. 


Shepard from St. Louis being killed, and two others 
wounded. This affair was begun by the usual thieving of 
the Indians. The men robbed appealed to Rev. A. F. 
Waller, who advised them to take some Indian horses and 
hold them until the property was restored. This brought 
on an attack, with the result of a skirmish, and about the 
same number of killed and injured on both sides. Many 
families were robbed between the Umatilla and The 
Dalles, their property being carried to a distance from the 
road and cached. Mrs. Geer came near being killed at 
the crossing of Des Chutes by an Indian. Four families 
left near John Da} T river with their wagons, while the men 
of the party were looking for stolen cattle, had everything 
taken from them, even to the last vestige of clothing, the 
women and children being left naked. They had managed 
to conceal a bolt of white muslin, out of which they had 
hastily made a covering when Ross company overtook 
them and gave them some blankets. By building a fire 
on the sand to warm it, they were made passably comfort 
able through a frosty September night. These outrages 
were known to Dr. Whitman, and still he remained. 

That he was much alarmed, however, seems to be shown 
by the large number of persons over seventy in all 
whom he gathered about him at his station for the winter. 
Thanks to Mr. Crawford s journal, we are able to obtain 
some account of this temporary colony. From the train 
to which Crawford belonged he drew Joseph and Hannah 
Smith, with five children one of them a daughter aged 
fifteen years. Smith was sent to the sawmill, about twenty 
miles from the mission; and Elam Young, his wife, and 
three sons, the eldest aged twenty-four, the second twenty- 
one, also were sent to the sawmill, where Young was to 
get out the timbers for the new gristmill at the mission. 
Isaac Gilliland was employed as a tailor at the mission; 
Luke Saunders and wife as teachers. The latter had five 
children, the eldest a girl of fourteen years. Miss Lori rid a 
Bewley, and her brother Crockett A. Bewley, were also 


employed, the young woman as assistant teacher. There 
were besides, engaged for different service, Mr. and Mrs. 
Kimball, with five children, the elder a girl of seventeen 
years; William D. Canfield, a blacksmith, his wife Sally 
Ann, and five children, the elder a girl of sixteen; Peter 
D. Hall, his wife and five children, the elder a daughter 
of ten ; Josiah Osborne, a carpenter, and his wife Margaret, 
with three young children; Mrs. Rebecca Hays, and one 
young child; Mr. Marsh, and daughter aged eleven; Jacob 
Hoffman, and Amos Sales in all fifty-four persons. 

Besides these there were the mission family consisting 
of the Dr. and Mrs. Whitman ; their seven adopted chil 
dren; Andrew Rogers, teacher; Eliza, daughter of H. H. 
Spalding, aged ten years; two half-caste children, girls, 
daughters of James Bridger and Joseph L. Meek; two sons 
of Donald Manson of the Hudson s Bay Company, who 
were attending school; Joseph Stanfield, a Frenchman; a 
half-breed tramp, named Joe Lewis, whom Dr. Whitman 
had taken in and given employment; and another man of 
mixed blood, named Nicholas Finlay, making together 
seventy-two persons at the mission and mill, thirteen of 
whom were American men, besides several boys able to 
bear arms. 

It is evident that so many people were not needed at the 
mission, where nothing was being done but preparing to 
build the mill. The school at this time, excepting the 
children of the immigrants themselves, consisted only of 
the few half-caste children already named, and the Sager 
family, adopted by the Whitmans. 

About the time Dr. Whitman engaged these people to 
remain with him until spring, he had a fresh cause of dis 
quiet in the arrival of a party of Catholic priests in his 
neighborhood, one of whom was invited by Tauitowe, the 
Catholic chief, to settle among the Cayuses. At the very 
time he was bringing up his mill machinery from The 
Dalles, he encountered the Rev. A. M. A. Blanchet at Fort 
Walla Walla, and with his usual straightforwardness, 


addressed him thus: "I know very well for what purpose 
you have come." "All is known," replied Blaiichet; "I 
come to labor for the conversion of the Indians, and even 
Americans, if they are willing to listen to me." 

That was fair and open, and no man knew better than 
the doctor that the Catholic had as much right to be there 
as the Protestant; but he did not like it, and so he told 
the bishop, declaring he would do nothing to assist him, 
even to sell him provisions, showing by his manner how 
deeply he was stirred, and sorrowfully hurt by what he 
considered a dangerous interference at that time. This 
conversation occurred on the twenty-third of September. 

At that time, and for several weeks after, Thomas McKay 
was stopping at the fort, being ill, and Dr. Whitman was 
in attendance upon him. So insecure did he feel himself 
that he requested McKay, whose influence with the Indians 
was almost unlimited, to spend the winter with him at 
Waiilatpu. To this McKa} 7 replied that he could not do 
so, on account of his affairs in the Wallamet valley, but if 
the doctor so desired, he would exchange places with him: 
and the doctor promised to see the property, but did not, 
owing to the exigence of affairs at hand. 

On the fourth of November there was a meeting of the 
Cay use chiefs at Fort Walla WalJa to determine whether 
they should receive Catholic teachers, and where, in case 
they did so, the bishop should build his house. The ques 
tions asked by the chiefs, Tiloukaikt, Camaspelo, Tam- 
sucky, and others, were whether the Pope had sent Blanchet 
to ask land for a mission, to which the bishop replied that 
it was the Pope who sent him, but not to take land only 
to save their souls; but that having to live, and being poor, 
he must ask a piece of land to cultivate for his support. 
The chiefs wished to know if the priests made presents; if 
they would cause the lands of the Indians to be ploughed; 
would aid in building their houses, or feed and clothe 
their children, to all of which Blanchet answered " No." 
All this was said openly, by an interpreter at the fort, and 


the chiefs retired to * confer together. Tiloukaikt finally 
said that as Tauitowe desired it, the bishop should send 
one to visit his land, and select a site for a mission. 

On the eighth of November Brouillet went by order of 
the bishop to Waiilatpu to look at Tiloukaikt s land, who, 
with Indian fickleness, had changed his mind, and refused 
to show any. He told the priest that he had no place he 
could give him but Whitman s, whom he intended to send 
away ; to which Brouillet replied that he would not have 
that place. Immediately afterwards he accepted Taui- 
towe s house on the Umatilla, which he, with Rev. Mr. 
Rosseau, set about repairing, and moved into on the twenty- 
seventh of November. In the meantime, Dr. Whitman 
had several times met Bishop Blanchet at the fort, and 
became somewhat softened in his sentiments towards him 
personally ; and on the day before the priests Brouillet and 
Rosseau left the fort for the Umatilla, Mr. Spalding, and 
Mr. Rogers the teacher, dined in their company, all seem 
ing mutually pleased with making the acquaintance. 

We have now to consider, exclusive of old jealousies, 
late altercations, or sectarian influences, the immediate 
cause of the Oayuse outbreak. The large immigration of 
1847, like most large migrations, had bred a pestilence, 
and when it reached the Cayuse country was suffering the 
most virulent form of measles, the fever being of a typhoid 
kind, and the disease often terminating fatally. 

All new diseases, especially those of the skin, are quickly 
communicated to the dark complexioned races; and as the 
Indians continually hung about the trains pilfering, some 
times trading, or inviting the young American lads to a 
trial of strength in wrestling matches, it was inevitable 
that many should contract the disease, which rapidly 
spread among the Cayuses. For two months, or ever 
since the doctor s return from The Dalles, he had been 
kept busy attending to the sick among the Indians, and 
under his own roof. So great had been the mortality that 
it threatened the destruction of the Cayuse tribe, thirty of 


whom had died in the immediate vicinity of the mission, 
while the sick were to be found in almost every lodge. 
"It was most distressing," wrote Spalding, "to go into a 
lodge of some ten or twenty fires, and count twenty or 
twenty-five, some in the midst of measles, others in the 
last stage of dysentery, in the midst of every kind of filth, 
of itself sufficient to cause sickness, with no suitable means 
to alleviate their inconceivable sufferings, with perhaps 
one well person to look after the wants of two sick ones. 
They were dying every da} 7 ; one, two, and sometimes five 
in a day, with the dysentery, which generally followed the 
measles. Everywhere the sick and dying were pointed to 
Jesus, and the well were urged to prepare for death." 

In Dr. Whitman s own house three of his adopted 
children, John, Edward, and one younger, were sick with 
measles, besides Mr. Sales, Crockett Bewley, and the two 
half-caste girls. Mrs Osborne was still delicate from a 
recent confinement, and her babe was sick. This was 
enough to occupy the attention of one physician, but 
being sent for to go to the Umatilla, Dr. Whitman rode 
over to the camp of Sticcas on the same day that Brouillet 
arrived there, Mr. Spalding being already at one of the 
other camps visiting the sick. The next day, which was 
Sunday, the doctor called on Brouillet, remaining but a 
few moments, and inviting the priest urgently to return 
the visit when he should be in his vicinity, an invitation 
which seems to have had some reference to negotiations 
which were then in progress for the sale of Waiilatpu to 
the Catholics. 

Brouillet, in his Authentic Account, says that Dr. Whit 
man, during his brief visit appeared "much agitated," and 
being invited to dine refused, saying he had twenty-five 
miles to ride to reach home, and he feared he should be 
late. Spalding remained at Umatilla, and on Monday 
took supper with the priest, remarking in the course of 
conversation that Dr. Whitman was disquieted because the 
Indians were displeased with him on account of the sick- 


ness among them; and that he had been informed that 
Tamsucky, a Cayuse, called The Murderer, intended to kill 
him. Spalding seemed not to be apprehensive, probably 
because he had so often heard of such threats in^jthe 
previous ten years that they had ceased to have much 

That Dr. Whitman, however, had cause for the agitation 
noticed by Brouillet, there is evidence not only in his 
haste to reach home, but in the statement of Spalding, who 
heard it from the inmates of the mission, that "the doctor 
and his wife were seen in tears, and much agitated;" from 
the testimony of Mrs. Saunders that the family were kept 
sitting up late Sunday night in consultation; and from 
the fact that there was a certain amount of preparation 
for, or expectation of danger on the part of those domiciled 
in the doctor s house, as appears from the events that 
followed. If the doctor neglected to warn those outside of 
his house, it was because he had no reason to think they 
would be included in the fate which threatened him, and 
judged it better to leave them in peace. 

On the following day, being Monday, Joseph Stanfield, 
the Frenchman, brought in a fat ox from the plains to be 
slaughtered, and it was shot by Francis Sager, one of the 
doctor s adopted sons. Kimball, Canfield, and Hoffman 
were dressing the carcass in the space between the doctor s 
house and the larger adobe Mansion house. Mr. Saun 
ders had just collected his pupils for the afternoon session 
of school ; Mr. Marsh was grinding Spalding s grist in the 
mill; Gilliland was at work on his tailor s bench in the 
adobe house,*" Mr. Hall was -laying a floor in a room of the 
doctor s house; Mr. Rogers was in the garden; Mr. Osborne 
and family were in the Indian room, which adjoined the 
doctor s sitting-room; John Sager, still an invalid, was 
sitting in the kitchen; Mr. Canfield and family occupied 
the blacksmith shop for a dwelling, and Mr. Sales occupied 
a bed there, while young Bewley and the sick children 
were in bed in the two houses. A good many Indians 


were iu the yard between the buildings, but as it was 
always so when a beef was being dressed, no notice was 
taken of this circumstance. 

There had been an Indian funeral in the morning, which 
the doctor attended, since which he had remained about 
the house. Stepping into the kitchen, perhaps to look 
after John Sager, his voice was heard in altercation with 
Tiloukaikt, and immediately after two shots were fired, 
when Mrs. Whitman, who was in the dining-room adjoin 
ing, cried out in an anguished tone, "Oh, the Indians! the 
Indians!" as if what had occurred were understood and 
not unexpected. 1 Running to the kitchen she beheld her 
husband prostrate and unconscious, with several gashes 
from a tomahawk across his face and neck. The sound 
of the guns and the yelling of the Indians outside of the 
houses startled the women, who were in the Mansion 
house, who ran to the doctors house, and offered their 
assistance to Mrs. Whitman, who was then binding up 
the doctor s wounds. At that moment Mr. Rogers ran in, 
wounded, and gave such assistance as he could to the 
women in removing the doctor to the dining-room. The 
doors and windows were then fastened. 

Meantime, outside, the slaughter of the several men, 
heads of families and others, was going on amid the 
blood-curdling noises of Indian warfare; and presently, 
the doctor s house was attacked. On going near a window 
Mrs. Whitman was shot in the breast, when she and all 
with her retreated to the chamber above. The Indians 
then broke in the doors and windows, and ordered the 
inmates of the chamber, including several sick children, 

1 No clear account of the massacre at Waiilatpu was ever obtained. After sifting 
all the published statements, and the depositions taken at the trial of the Cayuses, it 
is still impossible to call up anything like a true mental impression of the scene. 
That this should be so is unavoidable. Taking the sixty, odd men, women, and 
children at the mission, and thirty Indians (the number given by one of the wit 
nesses), making nearly a hundred persons, divided into groups at different points, it 
Avould be impossible that any one spectator could have seen all or much of what 
transpired. Terror and grif colored the view of that which was seen, and subse 
quent events created many new impressions. Such as appears indisputable is alone 
presented here. 


to come down and go to the Mansion house; and, on 
objections being made, Tamsucky informed them that their 
lives would be spared should they comply, but that they 
would perish if they refused; the "young men" being de 
termined to burn the mission residence. 

Thus compelled, all descended, except Mr. Kimball, who 
had a broken arm, and had hidden himself and four sick 
children, who were to be sent for. Mrs. Whitman fainting 
at the sight of her dying husband, was laid upon a 
wooden settee, to be carried to the Mansion house. As 
the settee appeared, the Indians, who were now drawn up 
in line outside, fired several shots, fatally wounding Mrs. 
Whitman, Mr. Rogers, and Francis Sager. The " young- 
men " then lashed Mrs. Whitman s face with their whips, 
and rolled her body in the mud made by the late Novem 
ber rains about the door. 

Following this scene was another almost equally har 
rowing, when the school children were compelled to stand 
huddled together in the kitchen to be shot at by the 
Cayuse braves. At this point, however, their purpose was 
suddenly changed by the interference of the- Frenchman, 
Stanfield, and by the opportunity to inflict further indig 
nities upon the still breathing victims on the ground. 

Two friendly Walla Wallas, who had been employed 
about the mission, led the children away to a secluded 
apartment, and endeavored to comfort them. 2 Every one 
not killed was now a prisoner, and subject to any brutal 
caprice of their goalers, who robbed, but did not burn the 
the mission-house, and compelled the women they had 
made widows to wait upon them as servants, and this 
while the dying still breathed, whose groans were heard 

2 In the sectarian controversies which followed the massacre of Waiilatpu, the 
interposition of Stanfield to save the children and women, was made to appear a 
proof of complicity with the murderers; but the facts show him at all times doing 
what he could to alleviate the misfortunes he had no power to avert. He was no 
more at liberty to leave the mission than the other prisoners ; and being there was 
able, by not laying himself open to suspicion of the Cayuses, to perform many acts 
of kindness, on one pretext or another, which should have been set down to his 
credit instead of proving him a miscreant. 


far into the night. Thus closed the first scene in the 

The killed on the afternoon of the twenty-ninth of 
November, 1847, were: Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, Mr. Rog 
ers, John and Francis Sager, Mr. Gilliland, Mr. Marsh, Mr. 
Saunders, and Mr. Hoffman. The escapes were: Mr. 
Osborne and family, who, at the first sound of the out 
break, hid themselves under the floor of the room they 
occupied, where they remained until night, when they left 
the house under cover of the darkness, and made their 
way to Fort Walla Walla, barely escaping starvation ; Mr. 
Canfield, who hid himself, and fled to Lapwai; and Mr. 
Hall, who snatched a gun from an Indian, and although 
wounded, reached the cover of a thicket, whence he set 
out after dark for the fort, reaching it at daybreak on the 
thirtieth. There he insisted on going to the Wallamet, 
and being furnished with clothing and a boat, started on 
his perilous journey, and was never heard of more 
making the tenth victim of the tragedy, unless Mr. Kim- 
ball came before. 

In the confusion of events at the close of the first day 
Mr. Kimball and the four sick children left in the attic 
were forgotten, remaining without food or water until the 
next day, when the sufferings of the children, as well as 
his own, induced him to venture in search of water, and 
he was discovered and shot. On the same day, James 
Young from the sawmill, with a load of lumber for the 
mission-house, was also killed. Two young men, Crockett 
Bewley and Amos Sales, through some unaccountable leni 
ency of the Indians, they being sick in bed, were spared 
until the following Tuesday, December eighth, when they 
were killed with revolting cruelties. The youngest of the 
Sager children and Helen Mar Meek died of neglect a day 
or two after the first murders, making the number of 
deaths from Indian savagery fifteen. 

The two Munson boys and a Spanish half-breed boy, 
whom Dr. Whitman* bad. raised, were separated from the 


other children the day after the massacre and sent to Fort 
Walla Walla, the Indians not including these in their 
decree of death, which doomed only American men and 

The massacre began* on Monday, about one o clock, and 
was continued, as has been narrated, on Tuesday. On 
Wednesday morning Joseph Stanfield was preparing the 
dead for burial, when there arrived at the mission J. B. 
A. Brouillet, the Catholic priest from the Umatilla, who 
lent his assistance 3 in committing to the earth the mu 
tilated remains of ten of the dead. The watchfulness of 
the Indians prevented any but the briefest communica 
tion between the captives and the priest, who having done 
what he could returned to Fort Walla Walla, and thence 
to his mission. 

The carousal of blood ended, the murderers seized upon 
the property of their victims, which they carried off, but 
quarreling among themselves about its division, brought 

3 The following is Brouillet s statement concerning his visit : That before leaving 
Fort Walla Walla, it had been decided that after going to the Umatilla, and visiting 
the sick there, he should go to Tiloukaikt s camp, to baptize the children, and such 
adults as desired it. il After having finished baptizing the infants and dying adults 
of my mission, I left Tuesday, the thirtieth of November, late in the afternoon, for 
Tioukaikt s camp, where I arrived between seven and eight o clock in the evening. 
It is impossible to conceive my surprise and consternation when upon my arrival I 
learned that the Indians the day before had massacred the doctor and his wife, with 
the greater part of the Americans at the mission. I passed the night without scarcely 
closing my eyes. Early the next morning I baptized three sick children, two of 
whom died soon after, and then hastened to the scene of death to offer to the widows 
and orphans all the assistance in my power. I found five or six women and over 
thirty children in a condition deplorable beyond description. Some had just lost 
their husbands, and the others their fathers, whom they had seen massacred before 
their eyes, and were expecting every moment to share the same fate. The sight 
of these persons caused me to shed tears, which, however, I was obliged to conceal, 
for I was the greater part of the day in the presence of the murderers, and closely 
watched by them, and if I had shown too marked an interest in behalf of the 
sufferers, it would have endangered their lives and mine ; these therefore entreated 
me to be on my guard. After the first few words that could be exchanged under 
those circumstances, I inquired after the victims, and was told that they were yet 
unburied. Joseph Stanfield, a Frenchman, who was in the service of Dr. Whitman, 
and had been spared by the Indians, was engaged in washing the corpses, but being 
alone he was unable to bury them. I resolved to go and assist him, so as to render 
to those unfortunate victims the last service 111 my power to offer them. What a 
sight did I then behold ! Ten dead bodies lying here and there, covered with blood 
and bearing the marks of the most atrocious cruelty, some pierced with balls, others 
more or less gashed by the hatchet": BrouWet 8 Authentic Account of (tie Murder of 
Dr. Whitman. 


back and replaced it, except such articles as were con 
verted to their use upon the spot. 4 namely, provisions and 
clothing. Thus the remainder of the week wore away 
without any signs of rescue, or relief from the horrible 
apprehensions which preyed upon all minds. On Satur 
day Brouillet s interpreter arrived at the mission, riding 
a horse that belonged to Mr. Spalding, which caused his 
friends there to believe he had also been murdered, but no 
opportunity was given for inquiring, and on the following 
day the interpreter left. 

Having by this time exhausted the excitement attending 
upon the massacre, and meeting with neither punishment 
nor opposition from any quarter, the chiefs determined 
upon adding to murder and rapine the violation of the 
young women and girls in their power. . The first of these 
outrages was perpetrated upon Miss Bewley by Tamsucky, 
who dragged her away from the house Saturday night, 
and continued to force compliance with his wishes while 
she remained at the mission. The sons of Tiloukaikt fol 
lowed his example, and took the fifteen-year-old daughter 
of Joseph Smith to their lodge, with the consent of her father, 
such was the abject fear to which all those in the power of 
the Indians were reduced. Susan Kimball also was car 
ried away to the lodge of Tintinmitsi, her father s mur 
derer, known to the white people as Frank Escaloom. 5 
Other sufferers escaped a painful notoriety ; and one young 
widow was saved by the mingled wit and wisdom of Stan- 
field, who pretended she was his wife. 6 

4 Catbine Sager testified to seeing Tiloukaikt wearing one of Mrs. Whitman s 
dresses, and another having on her brother s coat : From Depositions taken at the Trial 
of the Cayuses. 

"The names of the other victims of savage brutality have never transpired, nor 
need any have been known but for the bitter sectarian controversy which forced 
these matters into notice. Spalding asserted, in some lectures delivered in 1806-67, 
that women and little girls were subjected to brutal treatment. Elam Young, in a 
sworn deposition, says: "A few days after we got there two young women were 
taken as wives by the Indians, which I opposed, and was threatened by Smith, who 
was very anxious that it should take place, and that oilier little girls should be given 
up for wives : Gray s History of Oregon, 483. 

The day after the massacre, Tiloukaikt, finding Stanfield near the house in 
which the women and children were confined, asked him if he had anything in the 


On Sunday following the massacre, Daniel Young ar 
rived at the mission from the sawmill to inquire why his 
brother James had not returned, and learned the news of 
the massacre of Monday, and his brother s death on Tues 
day. He was permitted the next day to carry the dread 
ful intelligence to the families at the mill; but was followed 
by three Cayuses, who ordered all those there to remove to 
Waiilatpu, where they arrived on Tuesday, to find that 
the two young men, Bewley and Sales, had been murdered 
in their beds that day, and were ordered to attend to their 

It would seem like a caprice for the Indians to have 
spared the lives of Smith and the two Youngs, were it 
not, on second thought, plain that the services of these 
men were required to enable the Indians to enjoy the 
fruits of their butchery, or even to bury Iheir own dead, 
as they had been taught by the missionaries to do. After 
the murder of Bewley and Sales, the oldest male American 
captive was Nathan Kimball, aged thirteen; and adult 
men were needed to perform the labor of grinding at the 
mill, and otherwise looking after the maintenance of the 
large number of women and children at the mission, and 
for this reason the lives of Smith and Young were spared. 
But although they lived, they had no power to abate the 
horrors of captivity suffered by the women and children. 

On Thursday a new trouble was added. Word had 
been sent to Five Crows that he could have his choice of 
the young women for a wife, and his choice had fallen on 

* house. "Yes," said Stanfield, "my things are there." "Take them away," said 
the chief. "Why should I ?" asked Stanfield ; but the chief insisted. " Not only are 
my things all there, but my wife and children," said Stanfieid. "You have a wife 
and children in the house ?" exclaimed Tiloukaikt, surprised. " Will you take them 
away?" "No," said Stanfield, " I will not; but 1 will go and stay with them. I see 
you have evil designs ; you would kill the women and children. Well, you may kill 
me with them! Are you not ashamed?" This ruse saved almost half a hundred 
lives. Later Stanfield told the people in the house that he was married to Mrs. Hays, 
and when they were incredulous and questioned him, he replied, " We are married, 
and that is enough !" This declaration, if believed, was sufficient to prevent any in 
terference by the Indians, Stanfield being a Frenchman, and so, under the protection 
of the Hudson s Bay Company. It is difficult to perceive how Stanfield could have 
done more for the captives than he did do. 


Miss Bewley, for whom a horse and an escort was sent on 
that day. Up to this point it does not appear that the 
Umatilla Cayuses had taken any part in the outrages of 
Tiloukaikt s camp; and this gift of Miss Bewley to Five 
Crows was a bribe to secure his concurrence in future, if 
not his approval of the past. For although neither Five 
Crows nor Tauitowe consented to the murders, they, with 
Indian stolidity, verified Spalding s judgment of the sav 
age when he said in his report to White, that he " had no 
evidence to suppose but a vast majority of them would 
look on with indifference and see our dwellings burnt to 
the ground, and our heads severed from our bodies." 

Miss Bewley had been ill from the effect of the shocks 
to which she had been subjected, but was compelled to 
make the journey on horseback, camping out one night 
in a snowstorm. All the comfort that her fellow captives 
were able to give her was the suggestion that she would 
be safer at the Catholic station than where she was. 7 Such 
was the history of the first ten days following the massacre 
at the mission. 

We have now to account for those who escaped on that 
day, namely, Hall, Osborne, and Canfield. Hall having 
snatched a gun from an Indian, defended himself with it 
and reached the cover of the trees that grew along the 
Walla Walla river. After dark he fled towards Fort Walla 
Walla, where he arrived on the following morning with 
the story of the massacre so far as seen by him, intelligence 
which appears to have given very great alarm to Mr. Mc- 
Bean, the agent in charge. Hall was furnished with the 
Hudson s bay cap and coat, with such articles as would be 
required on his journey, and proceeded towards the Walla- 
inet on the north side of the Columbia. He was never 
.heard of afterwards. 

Mr. Osborne with his wife and three children secreted 
themselves under the floor of their apartment, remaining 
there until night, when they also attempted to get to Walla 

: Deposition of Elaui Young : Gray s History of Oregon, 483. 


Walla. But Mrs. Osborne being ill, was able to go only 
two miles, and for this reason, and from fear of the Indians, 
they were compelled to conceal themselves during Tuesday, 
suffering from hunger, cold, and every want. On Tuesday 
night three miles was accomplished, and Wednesday spent 
in concealment. That night the father took one of the 
children and started again for the fort, which he reached 
Thursday forenoon, being kindly received by McBean, 
who, however, was disinclined at first to entertain him 
and his family, and could not furnish horses to bring them 
to the fort, -but insisted on their going to the Umatilla. 8 
The arrival, about noon, of the Indian painter, J. M. 
Stanley, from Fort Colville, 9 was a fortunate occurrence, 
for he forthwith offered his horses to Osborne, with such 
articles of clothing as were indispensable, and some pro 
visions left over from his journey. With this example of 
what might be expected of himself, McBean took courage 
and furnished an Indian guide to assist Osborne in finding 
his family, which was finally brought to the fort on Fri 
day, in a famishing condition, and given such cold com 
fort as a blanket on a bare floor, food, and fire could 
impart, 10 and here the family remained until the day of 
their deliverance.. 

8 Affidavit of Osborne in the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, July 19, 1848. 
The fugitives who sought refuge at the fort made complaints of their reception, and 
charged McBean s conduct to his religion ; but he was probably afraid of an attack 
on the fort, as his letter, given elsewhere, intimates. The Americans, in judging of 
the conduct of the Hudson s Bay Company s officers, never made sufficient allowance 
for the greater caution of the British subjects generally in all matters, and particu 
larly the long experience of the company with Indians. A number of times their 
forts had been attacked, and more than once their agents had been killed. C. B. 
Roberts, for mauy years confidential clerk at Vancouver, says in his Historical Recol 
lections, MS.: "As to McBean, I know very little to say in his favor. He was, I 
think, a half-breed from Red river a bigoted Catholic of narrow views and educa 
tion." That he changed his course seems sure evidence of a strong governing 

9 Stanley had a narrow escape, although unconscious of it at the time. He was 
stopped and questioned as to his nationality. Was he American ? No. French ? No. 
English? No. What then ? A Buckeye. As his questioners knew nothing against or 
about Buckeyes, and as he offered them tobacco, he was allowed to pass. 

10 Osbome charged two oblate priests, who were staying at the fort, with cruelty 
in not offering their bed to his sick wife. Mr. Stanley being called upon to give his 
evidence, testified as follows : "I occupied a room with two or more of the Catholic 


Mr. Canfield, who was in the yard when the attack was 
made on the men engaged in dressing the heef, ran past 
the shop where his family lived, snatching up his youngest 
child, and calling to the others to follow, succeeded in 
reaching a chamber in the Mansion house, where they re 
mained undiscovered until night, and the Indians had 
retired to their lodges. He then found Stanfield, who 
directed him to a place four miles on the road to Lapwai, 
and who promised to bring him a horse the next morning, 
but was unable to do so ; and after lying concealed over 
Tuesday, set out on foot for the Nez Perces country. On 
Friday he reached Snake-river crossing, and was ferried 
over and piloted to Spalding s place by the Nez Perces In 
dians (who were yet ignorant of what had taken place at 
Waiilatpu), which he reached on Saturday, conveying to 
Mrs. Spalding the terrible news of the massacre of her 
friends, her daughter s captivity, and the probable death 
of her husband of whom nothing had been heard since 
Dr. Whitman s return from the Umatilla. 

With remarkable courage, and with that insight into 
Indian character which distinguished her, Mrs. Spalding 
decided on her course of action. The only person at her 
house, besides her young children, was Miss Johnson, her 

priests ; and their beds consisted of two blankets with a stick of wood for their 
pillow.. * * * Mr. McBean procured for him (Osborne) a trusty Walla Walla 
Indian to return with him for his family, but having no horses at the post, I prof 
fered the use of my own until he should reach the company s farm, about twenty 
miles distant, where he was supplied with fresh ones. Had it not been for the 
guide s perseverance, Mrs. Osborne and children must have perished. Mr. Osborne, 
despairing of finding the place where he had left them, proposed to the Indian to 
return. The Indian said he was told, by McBean not to return without finding them, 
and he continued his search until he discovered their concealment. They arrived 
at the fort early in the evening of the third of December, and Mr. McBean said he 
would protect them with his life. They were not allowed to go three days without 
provisions, but on the contrary were furnished daily with such provisions as were 
used by Mr. McBean and family. Mr. McBean proffered a blanket to Mr. Osborne on 
his credit, and I am quite positive the article was not asked for by Mr. Osborne. 
Signed. J. M. STANLF.Y." 

Oregon City, March 10, 1848. 

Osborne s own affidavit confirms Stanley s statement concerning the rescue of his 
family after he had given them up, and McBean s declaration that he would protect 
them with his life. The sufferings experienced by the survivors of the Waiilatpu 
massacre were such, with the prejudices imbibed beforehand, as to render them 
incapable of giving clear accounts of what had taken place. 


assistant. Her brother Mr. Hart, and a Mr. Jackson usu 
ally at the mission, were absent, one on a visit to the 
Spokane station, and the other on the road from Waiilatpu, 
which place he left with a pack train of flour only three 
hours before the massacre. The only other American in 
the- Nez Perces country was William Craig, a mountain 
man, who had a place ten miles up the Lapwai creek, the 
mission being at its mouth. There was nothing therefore 
to be hoped for from the people of her own race, and she 
determined to throw herself upon the generosity of the 
Nez Perces before they had time to hear from the Cayuses. 
Fortunately, two influential chiefs were at the mission, 
Jacob and Eagle, whom she at once informed of what had 
taken place at Waiilatpu, deputizing one to break the 
news to the camp, and sending the other with a letter to 
Mr. Craig. 11 

It was thought best by the Indians for Mrs. Spalding to 
remove to Craig s place where they had their winter camp 
on account of wood, and to this she consented. Although 
the Nez Perces expected the Cayuses, and kept guard at 
night, Mrs. Spalding refused to leave the mission before 
Monday, but waited to see Craig, who came down during 
Saturday night, and endeavored to get some Indians to 
carry expresses to Walker and Eells, and to her daughter. 
This was no easy matter, but Eagle finally consented to 
undertake the dangerous duty. 

On Monday the family at the mission was removed to 
Craig s, where Mr. Jackson arrived on Tuesday. And now 
came the test of character with the Nez Perces. While 
those immediately under Mrs. Spalding s influence re 
mained friendly, Joseph, a principal chief in the absence 
of Ellis, and a member of the church at Lapwai of eight 
years standing, with others of his following, a number 
of whom were also church members, joined with a few 

11 Mr. Spaldiiig names, besides Jacob and Eagle, Luke and his two brothers, mem 
bers of his church, and James, a Catholic, who was particularly friendly to himself 
and family, with most of their people : Oregon American, August 16, 1848. 


from James camp in plundering the mission buildings. 12 
Let us now follow Mr. Spalding, whom Dr. Whitman 
left on the Umatilla, and who had taken supper with 
the Catholic priests on the fatal twenty-ninth of Novem 
ber, quite unconscious of the horror that had fallen upon 

On Wednesday, December first, after concluding his 
visits to the sick in that neighborhood, Mr. Spalding set 
out on his return to Whitman s station on horseback, driv 
ing before him some pack horses, as was the custom of the 
country. When near the crossing of the Walla Walla 
river, and about three miles from the mission, he met 
Brouillet returning from Waiilatpu, accompanied by his 
interpreter, and Edward Tiloukaikt. The interview which 
took place is best told by Brouillet, as follows: " Fortu 
nately, a few minutes after crossing the river the interpre 
ter asked Tiloukaikt s son for a smoke. They proposed 
the calumet, but when the moment came for lighting it, 
there was nothing to make a fire. You have a pistol, 
said the interpreter; fire it and we will light. Accord 
ingly, without stopping, he fired his pistol, reloaded it 
and fired again. He then commenced smoking with the 
interpreter without thinking of reloading his pistol. A 
few minutes after, while they were thus engaged in smok 
ing, I saw Mr. Spalding come galloping towards me. In a 
moment he was at my side, taking me by the hand, and 
asking for news. Have you been to the doctor s? he in 
quired. Yes, I replied. What news? Sad news. Is 
any person dead? Yes, sir. Who is dead? Is it one 
of the doctor s children? (He had left two of them very 
sick.) No, I replied. Who then is dead? I hesitated 
to tell him. Wait a moment, said I; I cannot tell you 
now. While Mr. Spalding was asking me these different 

12 Says Spalding : Here was an opportunity for religion to show itself if there was 
any. Never before had temptation come to Joseph and his native brethren in the 
church in this dress. But now it came, and his fall, as I regard it, and that of some 
others, has given the Christian world a lesson that should be well studied, before it 
again places the lives and property of missionaries at the mercy of lawless savages, 
without a military force to keep them in awe " : Oregon American, August 16, 181". 

3 K A 



questions, 1 had spoken to my interpreter, telling him to 
entreat the Indian in my name not to kill Mr. Spalding, 
which I begged of him as a special favor, and hoped that 
he would not refuse me. I was waiting for his answer, 
and did not wish to relate the disaster to Mr. Spalding 
before getting it, for fear that he might by his manner 
discover to the Indian what I had told him, for the least 
motion like flight would have cost him his life, and prob 
ably exposed mine also. The son of Tiloukaikt, after hesi 
tating some moments, replied that he could not take it 
upon himself to save Mr. Spaldiug, but that he would go 
back and consult with the other Indians; and so he started 
back immediately to his camp. I then availed myself of 
his absence to satisfy the anxiety of Mr. Spalding." 

The news was quickly told, for there was no time 
to be lost. Brouillet represents Spalding as paralyzed by 
it. u ls it possible! Is it possible!" 13 he repeated several 
times. "They will certainly kill me;" and he was unable 
to come to any conclusion. Urged by Brouillet to rouse 
himself and decide upon a course, he resolved to fly, and 
leaving his loose horses in charge of the interpreter, with 
a little food given him by the priest turned aside into the 
pathless waste, with his face set in the direction of home. 
His horse straying, after a painful journey of a week on 
foot, traveling only at night, he reached Craig s on the 
day after Mrs. SpaTding s removal to that place. 

Meantime, on the very day of the removal, a messenger 
from the Cay uses arrived with a statement of what had 
been done by them, and the reasons for their acts, with a 
demand for an expression of opinion by the Nez Perces. 
A majority preferred remaining neutral until they knew 
what course was likely to be pursued by the white people 
in the country. This course was commended and encour 
aged by Spalding, who, after counseling with the chiefs, 

13 Eighteen years afterwards Mr. Spalding said to the writer of this : " I felt the 
world all blotted out at once, and sat on my horse as rigid as a stone, not knowing or 
feeling anything ;" and the sweat of a long past anguish stood out on his forehead 
as he recounted the history of that time. 


wrote a letter to Blanchet and Brouillet to assure them of 
his safety, and also to settle the question of policy towards 
the Cay uses. It runs as follows: 

CLEAR WATER, December 10, 1847. 
To the bishop of Walla Walla, or either of the Catholic priests : 

REVEREND AND DEAR FRIEND : This hasty note may inform 
you that I am yet alive through the astonishing mercy of God. 
The hand of the merciful God brought me to my family after six 
days and nights from the time my dear Mend furnished me with 
provisions, and I escaped from the Indians. My daughter is yet a 
captive, I fear, but in the hands of our merciful heavenly father. 
Two Indians have gone for her. 14 My object in writing is princi 
pally to give information through you to the Cayuses that it is our 
wish to have peace ; that we do not wish the Americans to come 
from below to avenge the wrong ; we hope the Cayuses and Ameri 
cans will be on friendly terms ; that Americans will no more come 
in their country unless they wish it. As soon as these men return, 
I hope, if alive, to send them to the governor to prevent Americans 
from coming up to molest the Cayuses for what is done. I know 
that you will do all in your power for the relief of the captives, women 
and children, at Waiilatpu ; you will spare no pains to appease 
and quiet the Indians. There are five Americans here (men), my 
wife and three children, one young woman, and two Frenchmen. 
We cannot leave the country without help. Our help, under God, 
is in your hands, and in the hands of the Hudson s Bay Company. 
Can help come from that source? Ask their advice and let me 
know. I am certain that if the Americans should attempt to come 
it would be likely to prove the ruin of us all in this upper country, 
and would involve the country in war ; God grant that they may 
not attempt it. At this moment I have obtained permission of the 
Indians to write more, but I have but a moment. Please send this 
or copy to Governor Abernethy. The Nez Perec s held a meeting 
yesterday ; they pledged themselves to protect us from the Cayuses 
if they [we] would prevent the Americans from coming up to 
avenge the murders. This we have pledged to do, and for this we 
beg for the sake of our lives at this place and at Mr. Walker s. By 
all means keep quiet and send no war reports ; send nothing but 
proposals for peace. They say they have buried the death of the 
Walla Walla chiefs son, killed in California. They wish us to bury 
this offense. I hope to write soon to Governor Abernethy, but as 
yet the Indians are not willing, but are willing I should send those 
hints through you. I hope you will send by all means and with all 

."They did not succeed in bringing her away. 


speed to keep quiet in the Willamette. Could Mr. Grant 15 come 
this way, it would be a great favor to us, and do good to the Indians. 

I just learn that these Indians wish us to remain in the country 
as hostages of peace. They wish the communication for Americans 
to be kept open. We are willing to remain so, if peace can be se 
cured. It does not seem stife for us to attempt to leave the country 
in any way at present. May the God of heaven protect us and 
finally bring peace. These two men go to make peace, and when 
they return, if successful with the Cay uses, they will go to the 
Willamette. We have learned that one man escaped to Walla 
Walla, crossed over the river, and went below. He would naturally 
suppose that all were killed. Besides myself, another white man 
escaped wounded and reached my place three days before I did. 

Late Indian reports say that no women, except Mrs. Whitman, 
or children, were killed, but all are in captivity. These people, if 
the Cayuses consent, will bring them all to this place. 

I traveled only nights, and hid myself days, most of the way on 
foot, as my horse escaped from me ; suffered some days from hunger 
and cold and sore feet ; had no shoes, as I threw my boots away, 
not being able to wear them, and also left blankets. God in mercy 
brought me here. From the white man who escaped and from the 
Indians, we learn that an Indian from the states, 16 who was in the 
employ of Dr. Whitman, was at the head of the bloody affair, and 
helped demolish the windows and take the property. We think the 
Cayuses have been urged into the dreadful deed. God in mercy 
forgive them, for they know not what they do. Perhaps these men 
can bring my horses and things. Please give all particulars you 
have been able to learn, and what news has gone below. How do 
the women and children fare? How extensive is the war? In giving 
this information, and sending this letter below to Governor Aber- 
nethy, you will oblige your afflicted friend. I would write directly 
to the governor, but the Indians wish me to rest until they return. 
Yours in affection and with best wishes. 

(Signed.) H. H. SPALDING. 

The Nez Perces who brought this letter, evidently 
written under stress of circumstances, and guardedly, were 
Inimilpip and Tipialanahkeikt, sub-chiefs, and members 
of Mr. Spalding s congregation. After a conference with 
the bishop and Brouillet, they visited the Cayuses, whom 
they advised to take measures for avoiding a war with the 
Americans. They requested Blanchet to write to Governor 

15 Mr. James Grant was in charge of the Hudson s bay post at Fort Hall. 

10 Joe Lewis, the half-breed already mentioned. 


Abernethy not to send up an army, but to come himself 
in the spring and make a treaty of peace with the Cayuses, 
who would then release the captives, whom they would in 
the meantime refrain from injuring. 

On the eighteenth of December Camaspelo of the camp 
between Umatilla and Waiilatpu, paid a visit to the 
bishop. He said the young men had u stolen his word," 
and misrepresented him that he had never consented to 
the massacre; that he wanted to kill all his horses and 
leave the country. 

To this the bishop replied that there was a possibility of 
peace, and advised that the chiefs should meet and decide 
upon some course of action immediately, as delay only 
increased the difficulties of the situation. Accordingly, 
on the twentieth, the Cay use chiefs met at the Catholic 
mission in grand council, Tauitowe presiding. Those pres 
ent were Tiloukaikt, Five Crows, and Camaspelo, with a 
number of sub-chiefs. The white men present were Blan- 
chet, Brouillet, Rosseau, and Le Claire, all Catholic priests. 
Blanchet opened the discussion by placing before the 
Cayuses the propositions of the Nez Perces, namely, that 
the Americans should not come to make war; that they 
should send up two or three great men to make a treaty of 
peace; that on the arrival of the commissioners the cap 
tives should be released; that no offense should be offered 
to Americans before learning what answer would be re 
turned to these propositions. 

Camaspelo spoke first in approval. Tiloukaikt then re 
viewed the history of the nation from before the first com 
ing of the white people: and acknowledged that previous 
to the advent of the Hudson s Bay Company they had 
always been at war; that where Fort Walla Walla now 
stood nothing but blood was continually seen. But they 
had been taught by white people there was a God who 
forbade war and murder. He eulogized Mr. Pambrun, 
who had so taught them ; referred to the killing of the 
Nez Perce chief who accompanied Mr. Gray east in 1837; 


and of the killing of Elijah in California three years pre 
vious, saying the Cayuses had forgotten all that, and lie 
hoped the Americans would forget what had occurred at 

Five Crows suggested some additions to the propositions 
already offered. Tauitowe said but little, excusing him 
self by declaring that he was sick and not able to talk, but 
favored the proposals. Edward Tiloukaikt arose, and dis 
played a "Catholic Ladder" stained with blood, and re 
peated what he asserted Dr. Whitman had said a short time 
before his death: "You see this blood! it is to show you 
that now because you have the priests among you, the 
country is going to be covered with blood. You will have 
nothing now but blood!" He then related the recent 
events at Waiilatpu in the most detailed and minute man 
ner, describing the sorrow of the bereaved families in 
touching language, even of a single member of one family 
left to weep alone over all the rest who had perished. He 
repeated the story carried by Joe Lewis to the Indians, that 
Dr. Whitman was poisoning them. Nothing was avoided 
or left out, except the names of the murderers; of these he 
made no mention. 

After some time spent in deliberation, a manifesto was 
agreed upon and dictated to the bishop, as follows: 

The principal chiefs of the Cayuses in council assembled state : 
That a young Indian who understands English, and who slept in 
Dr. Whitman s room, heard the doctor, his wife, and Mr. Spalding 
express their desire of possessing the lands and animals of the In 
dians ; that he stated also that Mr. Spalding said to the doctor : 
"Hurry giving medicines to the Indians that they may soon die ;" 
that the same Indian told the Cayuses, " If you do not kill the doctor 
soon, you will all be dead before spring;" that they buried six 
Cayuses on Sunday, November twenty-eighth, and three the next 
day ; that the schoolmaster, Mr. Rogers, stated to them before 
he died, that the doctor, his wife, and Mr. Spalding poisoned the 
Indians ; that for several years past they had to deplore the death 
of their children; and that according to these reports, they were led 
to believe that the whites had undertaken to kill them all ; and 
that these were the motives which led them to kill the Americans. 

The same chiefs ask at present : 


First. That the Americans may not go to war with the Cay uses. 

Second. That they may forget the lately committed murders, as 
the Cayuses will forget the murder of the son of the great chief of 
the Walla Wallas, committed in California. 

Third. That two or three great men may come up to conclude 

Fourth. That as soon as these great men have arrived and con 
cluded peace, they may take with them all the women and children. 

Fifth. They give assurance that they will not harm the Ameri 
cans before the arrival of these two or three great men. 

Sixth. They ask that Americans may not travel any more 
through their country, as their young men might do them harm. 

Place of Tauitowe, Youmatilla, twentieth December, 1847. 



To this document the bishop added a letter to Governor 
Abernethy, concluding as follows : " It is sufficient to state 
that all these speeches went to show, that since they had 
been instructed by the whites they abhorred war, and that 
the tragedy of the twenty-ninth had occurred from an 
anxious desire of self-preservation, and that it was the 
reports made against the doctor and others which led 
them to commit this act. They desire to have the past 
forgotten, and to live in peace as before. Your excellency 
has to judge of the value of the documents which I have 
been requested to forward to you. "Nevertheless, without 
having the least intention to influence one way or the 
other, I feel myself obliged to tell you that by going to 
war with the Cayuses, you will likely have all the Indians 
of this country against you. Would it be for the interest 
of a young colony to expose herself? That you will have 
to decide with your council." 

The council of the Cayuses at the bishop s house was 
hardly over, when a courier arrived from Fort Walla 
Walla, notifying the Cayuses that Mr. Peter Skeen Ogden 
of Fort Vancouver was at that place and desired to see 
them without delay. A letter to the bishop was also 


received requesting his presence, but he being unable to 
attend, Mr. Brouillet went in his place, to give an account 
of what had passed at the council held at his mission; 
this being, as he informs us, the first time any of the 
fathers had ventured away from Tauitowe s camp since 
his return from Waiilatpu after the burial of the victims. 
The Indians could not be brought together before tl^ie 
twenty-third, by which time the bishop also was present. 

Of how Mr. Ogden came to take the important step he 
did, the explanation will be given in the chapter which 
follows. That his doing so was as wise as it was brave, 
every historian must acknowledge. But to close this act 
in the drama enacted in the Walla Walla valley, we con 
tinue the narrative of what followed Ogden s arrival. 

From the moment of his arrival on the evening of the 
nineteenth until the morning of the twenty-third, no time 
was lost, but every particle of information was gathered 
up which would enable him to deal with the Cayuses, and 
also the Nez Perces. The Cayuse chiefs present were 
Tauitowe and Tiloukaikt, with about a dozen young men. 
Mr. Ogden addressed them fearlessly and truthfully, yet 
with that tact in keeping the advantage which is necessary 
in dealing with undeveloped minds. Speaking of the 
Hudson s bay people, "We have been among you for 
thirty years," said Ogden, "without the shedding of blood; 
we are traders, and of a different nation from the Ameri 
cans; but recollect, we supply you with ammunition, not 
to kill Americans, who are of the same color, speak the 
same language, and worship the same God as ourselves, 
and whose cruel fate causes our hearts to bleed. Why do 
we make you chiefs, if you cannot control your young 
inen? Besides this wholesale butchery, you have robbed 
the Americans passing through your country, and have 
insulted their women. If you allow your young men to 
govern you, I say you are not men or chiefs, but hermaph 
rodites who do not deserve the name. Your hot-headed 
young men plume themselves on their bravery; but let 


them not deceive themselves. If the Americans begin 
war they will have cause to repent their rashness; for the 
war will not end until every man of you is cut off from 
the face of the earth? I am aware that man} r of your 
people have died; but so have others. It was not Dr. 
Whitman who poisoned them; but God who has com 
manded that they should die. You have the opportunity 
to make some reparation. I give you only advice, and 
promise you nothing should war be declared against you. 
The company have nothing to do with your quarrel. If 
you wish it, on my return I will see what can be done for 
you ; but I do not promise to prevent war. Deliver me 
the prisoners to return to their friends, and I will pay you 
a ransom ; that is all." 

The people then in Oregon, it should seem, could never 
be too grateful to Mr. Ogden for this happily worded 
speech, which left them free to act as they should deem 
wise, which compelled the Cayuses to yield to the Hud 
son s Bay Company or lose their regard, and which left 
the company in its former position of neutrality. It was 
this avowal of neutrality nevertheless which was an offense 
to many Americans. Yet how else could the company be 
of service? If they were one with the Americans in this 
quarrel, they could not offer blankets, but the sword. If 
they avowed hostility, the captives would be the sacrifice. 

The chiefs, although they must have seen they were 
caught as in a trap, yielded. Tauitowe made it appear 
that he did so out of consideration for the compaii}-, who 
were his brothers because some of the Indian women were 
wives to some of the company s people. 

Tiloukaikt also recognized this claim, but he had mere 
personal motives. "Chief!" said he, "your words are 
weighty, your hairs are gray. We have known you a 
long time. You have had an unpleasant journey to this 
place. I cannot therefore keep the families back. I make 
them over to you, which I would not do to another younger 
than vourself." 


Peu-peu-mox mox declined to say anything, except that 
he found the Americans changeable, but approved of giv 
ing up the captives. It has been told upon as good au 
thority as Dr. W. F. Tolmie of the Hudson s Bay Company, 
that when a messeuger from Waiilatpu brought the news 
of the massacre to the chief of the Walla Wallas, he was 
asked what part he had taken in the bloody business, and 
having answered that he had killed certain persons, Peu- 
peu-mox-mox had ordered him hanged to the nearest tree. 

This anecdote would seem to receive confirmation from a 
postscript to a letter written by Mr. McBean of Fort Walla 
Walla, on the day after the massacre, in which he says he 
has "just learned that the Cayuses are to be here tomor 
row to kill Serpent Jaune, 17 the Walla Walla chief." An 
other anecdote told by J. L. Parrish, concerning Peu-peu- 
mox-mox, relates that when the Cayuses proposed going 
to war, he warned them not to judge the Americans fight 
ing qualities by what they had seen of the immigrants, 
for he had witnessed their fighting in California, where 
every American was a man; from all of which it appears 
that this chief at least, was not implicated in the killing 
of the Americans in the Cayuse country. Whatever he 
thought about the instability of the white people, he had 
learned to fear them. His own instability he displayed at 
a later period. 

The ransom offered the Cayuses was fifty-three point 
blankets, fifty shirts, ten guns, ten fathoms of tobacco, ten 
handkerchiefs, and one hundred balls and powder. The 
Nez Perce chiefs who had not yet returned home from the 
council on the Umatilla, promised to release Mr. Spalding 
and the Americans with him for twelve blankets, twelve 
shirts, twelve handkerchiefs, five fathoms of tobacco, two 
guns, two hundred balls and powder, and some knives. 18 

Ogden wrote to Mr. Spalding, by the returning chiefs, 

17 Serpent Jaune, or Yellow Serpent, was the French name for Peu-peu-mox-mox. 

18 This is the amount, stated by Brouillet, who was present. The Oregon Spectator 
of January twentieth makes it double that amount of ammunition, with twelve 
niuts and thirty-seven pounds of tobacco. 


that no time should be lost in getting to Walla Walla, and 
to come without giving any promises to the Indians, not 
aware that Spalding had already given his word to pre 
vent the Americans from coming to avenge the murders. 
Spalding replied to Ogden that he should hasten to join 
him, and all the more, that the chiefs had assured him 
that the Cayuses would kill all should they hear that the 
Americans were coming with hostile design. A letter was 
also sent express to the missionaries at Chemakane in 
which Mr. Ogden declared his great fear lest something 
should miscarry, an anxiety which had prevented him 
from sleeping for two nights, and outlining the policy he 
should pursue, which would be one to do nothing which 
might in any way embarrass the government of the United 
States in dealing with the murderers. 

The anxiety expressed in this letter was occasioned by 
a rumor which reached the Indians immediately after the 
arrival of the Waiilatpu captives at Fort Walla Walla 
December twenty-ninth that a company of riflemen had 
arrived at The Dalles on their way to the Cayuse country. 
Should this rumor be believed it would be almost certain 
to cause Mr. Spalding s party to be cut off, and might make 
the escape of those already with him impossible. No con 
firmation, however, was received before Mr. Spalding ar 
rived, who reached the fort January first, escorted by a 
large party of Nez Perces, greatly to the relief of all con 

At noon on the second, the boats, with their fifty -seven 
ransomed men, women, and children, with other passengers 
arid provisions for the journey, 19 put off from the beach at 
Walla Walla fort, eager and thankful to see the last of it. 
Nor were they any too soon, for a few hours thereafter fifty 
armed Cayuses rode up to the fort to demand Mr. Spalding 
to be given up to be killed, as they had reliable news of 
American soldiers en route to their country. 

" Seven oxen and sixteen bags of coarse Hour were purchased from Tilonkaikt to 

feed the people : Oregon Spectator, January 20, 1848. 


No account, at all intelligible has ever been written of 
the month of captivity at Waiilatpu. All that has been 
given to the world has been of a character to sadden the 
heart for the violence of the passions exhibited, both then 
and thereafter, in the effort of the sufferers by these calam 
ities to make some one responsible for them. In weighing 
the value of such evidence as wo have, it should be re 
membered that the Indians steadfastly gave one principal 
reason for their crime, although afterwards in excusing 
themselves, they dragged in the loss of two young chiefs, 
one a Nez Perces, and one a Walla Walla. The principal 
motive was a sufficient one, as the student of Indian char 
acter and customs must admit. 

But the immigrants stopping at Waiilatpu could not 
have known how to weigh such evidence. They had, per 
haps, been led to believe from Dr. Whitman s remarks in 
their hearing, that he feared the influence of Catholic mis 
sionaries, but had not learned all his reasons for disquietude. 
That the doctor s personal antagonism to the Catholics 
has been somewhat exaggerated, seems to be shown by 
several facts, but he did fear the effect of anything which 
could cause contention among the Indians, involving their 
teachers. It has been doubted that he gave Edward Tilou- 
kaikt the " Catholic Ladder " stained with blood ; but that is 
not improbable. He has simply been misunderstood or mis 
represented. He probably meant, not to foreshadow his own 
death, or the extermination of Americans, but to impress 
upon Edward the thought that to introduce religious con 
troversy among his people would be to afford cause for war. 
It had been so in nations called enlightened how much 
more to be apprehended among savages. But Tiloukaikt, 
a savage, was shrewd enough to make use of that very in 
dication of distrust to set up sectarian differences between 
white people. Naturally, the priests, who had honestly 
tried to do some good and alleviate so much evil, resented 
the slurs cast upon them by those whom they had served, 
and honce, much bitter controversy. 


It is recorded in the sworn statements of some of the 
captives, after their arrival in the Wallamet valley, that 
they had said from the first, " The Catholics are at the bottom 
of it." Yet why should they think that the Catholics were 
responsible? They had been but a short time in the coun 
try, and did not have an intelligent view of the situation 
of affairs if the} 7 had understood them, they would not 
have remained. The priests had been in the country even 
a less time, and few, if any, of the immigrants had seen 
them. Miss Bewley, who was an inmate of the doctor s 
family, when questioned, under oath, whether she ever 
heard Dr. Whitman express any fears concerning the 
Catholics, replied: "Only once; the doctor said at table, 
Now I shall have trouble; these priests are coming. Mrs. 
Whitman asked : Have the Indians let them have land? 
He said: I think they have. Mrs. Whitman said: It s 
a wonder they do not come and kill ns. This land was 
out of sight of the doctor s as you come this way (west of 
the station). When the Frenchman was talking at Uma- 
tilla of going to build a house there, he said it was a 
prettier station than the doctor s." 

What was there in this testimony to establish a criminal 
intent on the part of the priests? Mrs. Whitman, when 
she said -"it is a wonder they do riot come and kill us," 
was not speaking of the priests, but of the Indians, and 
knew far better than Miss Bewley whereof she spoke. 
And this was all that the witnesses among the captives 
had to say of their actual knowledge of the state of Dr. 
Whitman s mind; the rest was surmise, and the gossip of 
idle people full of fears. 

Poor wretches! they were witnesses to murder the most 
foul ; to the theft and destruction of their property, and to 
personal indignities the most indecent and cruel. 20 They 

20 Great stress has been laid by some writers upon the fact that the Catholic 
priests did not interfere to save Miss Bewley from the arms of Five Crows ; but from 
her own evidence this chief sought to rescue her from indiscriminate abuse by 
taking her to himself. Tn a deposition taken at Oregon City, February 7, 1S49, the 
question was asked; " Did you have evidence that it was necessary for Hezekiah 


had lived in hell for a period long enough to change their 
conceptions of the world and humanity, and they were 
still too tremulous from injuries to be able to have a steady 
judgment. According to their own representations, they 
were as suspicious of each other as of their recognized 
foes, and conspired to prove conspiracies among each 
other. Like other lunatics their worst suspicions were 
turned against their best friends; their sick brains were 
incapable of comprehending the truth. And, as often 
happens in complaints of this nature, the same phenomena 
communicated itself, temporarily at least, to the whole 

Mr. Ogden found at The Dalles, as the Indians had 
heard, a company of riflemen, whom Mr. Spalding, not 
withstanding his word given to the Nez Perces, urged to 
hasten up and surprise the Cayuses, naming only a few 
who might be spared ; and this wholesale slaughter was to 
be perpetrated to " save the animals of the mission !" Might 
it not be said these people had become deranged? 

On the eighth of December Mr. Ogden arrived at Van 
couver, and on the tenth delivered the rescued Americans 
into the hands of Governor Abernethy at Oregon City, 
with Mr. Spalding s letter and the bishop s letter, together 
with the manifesto of the Cayuse chiefs. It does not re 
quire much imagination to conceive the excitement occa 
sioned by the arrival of these unhappy people, nor the 
influence it had on the conduct of the Cayuse war. Half- 
crazed widows; young women who had suffered such 

(Five Crows) to hold you as a wife to save you from a general abuse by the Indians?" 
Answer: " I was overwhelmed with such evidence at Waiilatpu, but saw none of it 
on the Umatilla." In the same deposition Miss Bewley says : "It was made known 
to us (the captives) after a council, that Edward was to go to the big chief at the 
Umatilla and see what was to be done with us, and specially with the young women; 
and after his return he immediately commenced the massacre of the sick young 
men, and the next morning announced to us that arrangements had been made for 
Hezekiah to come and take his choice among the young women. * * * Hezekiah 
did not come for me himself, but sent a man and a boy for the young woman that 
was & member of Mrs. Whitman s family " ( Miss Bewley): Gray s History of Oregon, 
500, 501. 

If the men with families at the mission could not interfere, how could the priests 
who had no other right than common humanity gave them? That right, Brouillet 


indignities and brutalities that they wondered to find 
themselves alive, among. Christian people; children who 
had lost the happy innocence of childhood, whom suffer 
ing had made old before their time; men who had become 
craven through fear an avalanche of such misery poured 
into the lap of a small community, still struggling with 
the hardships of pioneer settlement, upheaved it from its 
very foundations. 

Governor Abernethy, eleven days after the delivery to 
him of his rescued fellow countrymen, penned the follow 
ing letter to Mr. Ogden : 

OREGON CITY, January 19, 1848. 

SIR : I feel it a duty as well as a pleasure to tender you my sin 
cere thanks, and the thanks of this community, for your exertions 
in behalf of the widows and orphans that were left in the hands of 
the Cayuse Indians. Their state was a deplorable one, subject to 
the caprice of savages, exposed to their insults, compelled to labor 
for them, and remaining constantly in dread lest they should be 
butchered as their husbands and fathers had been. From this state 
I am fully satisfied we could not have rescued them ; a small party 
of Americans would have been looked upon by them with contempt; 
a larger party would have been a signal for a general massacre. 
Your immediate departure from Vancouver on the receipt of the 
intelligence from Waiilatpu, enabling you to arrive at Walla Walla 
before the news of the American party having started from this 
place reached them, together with your influence over the Indians, 
accomplished the desirable object of relieving the distressed. Your 
exertions in behalf of the prisoners will, no doubt, cause a feeling of 
pleasure to you throughout life, but this does not relieve them nor 
us from the obligations we are under to you. You have also laid 
the American government under obligations to you, for their citi 
zens were the subjects of this massacre, and their widows and or- 

says they exercised by advising the Cayuses who attended the council at the bishop s 
house to immediately give up the girls whom they had taken. "And then," he says, 
" all entreated Five Crows to give up the one he had taken, but to no purpose." Up 
to this time Miss Bewley had been permitted to remain at the bishop s house during 
the day time, but after Five Crows refusal to give her up, Brouillet advised her to 
insist upon being allowed to remain altogether at the bishop s house until definite 
news came from below ; but if Five Crows would not consent she should stay with 
him at his lodge. She came back, however, and was received and comforted as best 
they could under circumstances so peculiar, and continued to share their bachelor 
house with them until relief caine. The years that have elapsed have softened preju- 
dices, and it is time to write impartially of a most interesting period of the state s 


pbans are the relieved ones. With a sincere prayer that the widow s 
God and the father of the fatherless may reward you for your kind 
ness, I have the honor to remain, 

Your obedient servant. GEORGE ABERNETHY, 

Governor of Oregon Territory. 
To Peter Skeen Ogden, 

Chief Factor Hudson s Bay Company. 

To this letter Mr. Ogden sent this significant reply: 

FORT VANCOUVER, January 26, 1848. 
Mr. George Aberncthy, Exq., Governor of Oregon: 

SIR : I have to acknowledge the receipt of your highly Hatter- 
ing letter of the nineteenth instant, and the high value you lay 
upon my services in rescuing so many fellow creatures from cap 
tivity, but the meed of praise is not due to me alone. I was the 
mere acting agent of the Hudson s Bay Company, for without its 
powerful aid and influence, nothing could have been effected, and 
to them the praise is due, and permit me to add, should unfor 
tunately, which God avert, our services be again required under 
similar circumstances, I trust you will not find us wanting in going 
to their relief. 

Believe me, yours truly, PETER SKEEN OGDEN. 

The rescued women and children were taken care ol by 
the citizens, and settlers upon farms, many of the women 
and girls being soon provided with homes by marriage. 
Such of their propert} as had not been destroyed wa.s 
finally recovered, while all became absorbed into the 
young commonwealth. 

The discussion of the causes which had brought about 
the tragedy of Waiiiatpu went on unceasingly, to no other 
purpose apparently than to gratify a craving for excite 
ment. No one felt willing to lay any blame upon the 
victims. The immigrants were unwilling to admit that 
the catastrophe was caused by their introduction of a fatal 
disease among the Indians. The cause must be sought 
otherwheres. Where else could it- be looked for except in 
the natural depravity of barbarians, incited, of course, by 
some influence not American the French priests, or the 
English fur company, or both together? Forgetful of the 


services received, the latter view was the one generally 
adopted by the Protestant missionary class, and which has 
prevailed, almost uncontradicted, to the present time. 

There was one great cause for the massacre of Waiilatpu 
underlying all others, which was the neglect of congress 
to keep faith with the people who settled Oregon. For 
many years the promise had been held out, that if these 
people would go to Oregon the United States government 
would protect and reward them. It had done neither. 
They were living on Indian lands that had never been 
treated for, and to which they had no title. They had 
not one government gun or soldier to protect two thousand 
miles of road. They had no government, except a com 
pact among themselves. Neither Dr. Whitman s threat 
nor Dr. White s promises had been fulfilled to the Indians, 
and they had no cause to believe they ever would be. 
Even without the provocation of having lost a third of 
their tribe by white men s disease, if not by poison crimi 
nally administered, as they believed, the conditions all 
pointed to an Indian war, for which the United States, 
and not the people of Oregon, should have been held 





LEAVING aside the causes which led up to the Waii- 
latpu tragedy, it is time now to consider its consequences 
to the Oregon colony. 

On the seventh day of December, 1847, the provisional 
legislature met at Oregon City. It consisted of the fol 
lowing members: 

From Clackamas county Medorum Crawford, J. M. 
Wair, and S. S. White. 

From Champoeg county W. H. Rector, W. H. Rees, 
A. Chamberlain, A. Cox, and Robert Newell. 

From Polk county J. W. Nesmith, and M. A. Ford. 

From Yamhill county A. J. Hembree, and L. Rogers. 

From Tuality county R. Wilcox, D. Hill, and J. L. 

From Clatsop county J. Robinson. 

From Lewis county S. Plomondeau. 

No representative of Vancouver county was present. 

Robert Newell was speaker of the house. 

On the eighth, Governor Abernethy sent in his message, 
which contained the refrain already quoted in a previous 
chapter saying " our relations with the Indians become 
every year more embarassing," and that the robberies 
committed by them should not be allowed to pass. 

On the afternoon of the same day another communica 
tion was received from the governor, accompanied by a 



number of letters from Vancouver, sent by Mr: Douglas, 
announcing the news which he had just received of the 
murder of Dr. Whitman and family. The information 
Mr. Douglas imparted was that contained in a letter 
written by Mr. McBean, of Fort Walla Walla, a few hours 
after the arrival at the fort of Mr. Hall, the first refugee 
who reached there. 

The following is a transcript of the copy of McBean s 
letter furnished to the governor, preserved in the archives 
of the state : 

FOKT NEZ PERCES, 30th November, 1847. 
To the Board of Management : 

GENTLEMEN : It is my painful task to make you acquainted 
with a horrid massacre which took place yesterday at Waiilatpu, 
about which I was first apprised early this morning by an Amer 
ican who had escaped, of the name of Hall, and who reached this, 
half naked and covered with blood. As he started at the outset 
the information I obtained was not satisfactory. He, however, 
assured me that the doctor and another man were killed, but could 
not tell me the persons who did it, and how it originated. 

I immediately determined on sending my interpreter and one 
man to Dr. Whitman s to find out the truth, and if possible, to 
rescue Mr. Hanson s two sons and any of the survivors. It so hap 
pened, that before the interpreter had proceeded half way the two 
boys were met on their way hither, escorted by Nicholas Finlay, it 
having been previously settled among the Indians that these boys 
should not be killed, as also the American women and children. 
Teloquait is the chief who recommended this measure. 

I presume you are well acquainted that fever and dysentery has 
been raging here, and in this vicinity, in consequence of which a 
great number of Indians have been swept away, but more especially 
at the doctor s place, where he attended upon the Indians. About 
thirty souls of the Cayuse tribe died, one after another, who eventu 
ally believed the doctor poisoned them, and in \vhich opinion they 
were unfortunately confirmed by one of the doctor s party. As far 
as I have been able to learn, this has been the sole cause of the 
dreadful butchery. 

In order to satisfy any doubt on that point, it is reported that 
they requested the doctor to administer medicine to three of their 
friends, two of whom were really sick, but the third only feigning 
illness, and that the three were corpses the next morning. After 
they were buried, and while the doctor s men \vere employed 
slaughtering an ox, the Indians came one by one to his house, with 


their arms concealed under their blankets, and being all assembled, 
commenced firing on those slaughtering the animal, and in a mo 
ment the doctor s house was surrounded. 

The doctor and a young lad, brought up by himself, were shot in 
the house. His lady, Mr. Rogers, and the children had taken 
refuge in the garret, but were dragged down and dispatched (ex 
cepting the children ) outside, where their bodies were left exposed. 
It is reported that it was not their intention to kill Mr. Rogers, in 
consequence of an avowal to the following effect, which he is said 
to have made, and which nothing but a desire to save his life could 
have prompted him to do. He said: "I was one evening lying 
down, and I overheard the doctor telling Rev. Mr. Spalding that it 
was best you should be all poisoned at once ; but that the latter told 
him it was best to continue slowly and cautiously, and that between 
this and spring, not a soul would remain, when they would take 
possession of your lands, cattle, and horses." 

These are only Indian reports, and no person can believe the 
doctor capable of such an action without being as ignorant and 
brutal as the Indians themselves. One of the murderers, not being 
made acquainted with the above understanding, shot Mr. Rogers. 

It is well ascertained that eleven lives were lost, and three 
wounded. It is also rumored they are to make an attack upon the 
fort. Let them come ! if they will not listen to reason. Though I 
have only five men at the establishment, I am prepared to give 
them a warm reception. The gates are closed day and night, and 
the bastions in readiness. 

In company with Mr. Manson s two sons, was sent a young half- 
breed lad, brought up by Dr. Whitman; they are all here, and have 
got over their fright. The ringleaders in this horrible butchery are 
Teloquait, his son, Big Belly, Tamsucky, Esticus, Taumaulish, etc. 
I understand from the interpreter that they were making one 
common grave for the deceased. 

The houses \vere stripped of everything in the shape of property, 
but when they came to divide the spoil they fell out among them 
selves, and all agreed to put back the property. I am happy to 
state the Walla Wallas had no hand in the whole business; they 
were all the doctor s own people (the Cayuses). One American 
shot another, and took the Indians part to save his own life. 1 

Allow me to draw a veil over this dreadful affair, which is too 
painful to dwell upon, and which I have explained conformably to 
information received, and with sympathizing feelings. 

1 The person here referred to was Joe Lewis, a half-caste American. It is just 
possible that the Indians compelled him, as it was said they did Mr. Rogers, to make 
a false statement, or to side with them; but the testimony of the captives made him 
responsible for the massacre. Mr. McBean was reporting to his superiors what he 
had learned from the only authority at hand. 



I remain, with much respect, gentlemen, your most obedient 
humble servant, 

(Signed). WILLIAM McBEAN. 

N. B. I have just heard that the Cayuses are to be here tomor 
row to kill Serpent Jaime, the Walla Walla chief. 

W. McB. 

Names of those who were killed : Dr. Whitman, Mrs. Whitman, 
Mr. Rogers, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Sanders (schoolmaster), Mr. Osborne 
(carpenter), Mr. Marsh, Mr. John Sager, Mr. Francis Sager 
(brothers, youths), Mr. Canfield (blacksmith), Mr. (a tailor); 
besides three that were wounded, more or less, Messrs. Hall, Kim- 
ball, and another man whose name I cannot learn. 

W. McB. 

This information, only slightly inaccurate, was that 
which was obtained the day after the massacre, first from 
Mr. Hall, then from Finlay and the Manson boys, and 
lastly from McBean s interpreter: 5 As soon as practicable 
after the return of his interpreter, Mr. McBean dispatched 
an express to Vancouver, with instructions to lose no time, 
and to spread no alarm, his object being to get the news, 
not only of the massacre, but of his own exposed situation 
should the Cayuses carry out their rumored threat against 
his post, to the board of managers before the tribes along 
the river should learn what had taken place, or form any 
combination with the Cayuses. 1 

-This letter of McBean s, as here given, is faithfully copied from a copy made at 
Fort Vancouver, appearing to be in the hand of C. B. Roberts. It differs only slightly 
from several printed copies. It is preserved in the Oregon Archives MS., and num 
bered 1032. 

3 In a communication to the Walla Walla Statesman of March 16, 1866, Mr. McBean 
says : " When my messenger arrived, Indian women, armed with knives and other 
implements of war, were already assembled near the house where the captives were, 
awaiting the order of the chief Tiloukaikt, who was present. On being informed of 
my request ( not to commit any more murdeis, and on being told they had already 
gone too far ), he hung down his head, and paused, then with a wave of his hand 
peremptorily ordered the women away, who abusing him, called him a coward." 
This, if true, would appear to be the second time Tiloukaikt s hand had been stayed. 

4 This caution, necessary a& it evidently was considered by the prudent officers of 
a company having a long acquaintance with Indians, was the subject of bitter ani 
madversion by those who saw in it grounds of suspicion. The circumstances appear 
from the evidence to have been these : Mr. McBean s messenger, on arriving at The 
Dalles, desired Mr. Alanson Hinman, residing there, to assist him in procuring a 
canoe to proceed to Vancouver. "I was very inquisitive," says Hinman, in a letter 
to Governor Abernethy, "to know if there was any difficulty above. He said four 


A letter from Mr. Douglas to Governor Abernethy ran 

as follows: 

FORT VANCOUVER, December 7, 1847. 
George Abernethy, Esq.: 

SIR : Having received intelligence last night by special express 
from Walla Walla of the destruction of the missionary settlement 
at Waiilatpu by the Cay use Indians of that place, we hasten to 
communicate the particulars of that dreadful event, one of the most 
atrocious which darkens the annals of Indian crime. 

Our lamented friend, Dr. Whitman, his amiable and accom 
plished lady, with nine other persons, have fallen victims to the 
fury of these remorseless savages, who appear to have been insti 
gated to this appalling crime by a horrible suspicion which had taken 
possession of their superstitious minds, in consequence of the num 
ber of deaths from dysentry and measles, that Dr. Whitman was 
silently working the destruction of their tribe by administering 
poisonous drugs, under the semblance of salutary medicines. 

With a goodness of heart and benevolence truly his own, Dr. 
Whitman has been laboring incessantly since the appearance of the 
measles and dysentry among his Indian converts to relieve their 
sufferings ; and such has been the reward of his generous labors. 

A copy of McBean s letter, herewith transmitted, will give you 
all the particulars known to us of this indescribably painful event. 
Mr. Ogden, with a strong party, will leave this place as soon as 
possible for Walla Walla, to endeavor to prevent further evil ; and 
we beg to suggest to you the propriety of taking instant measures 
for the protection of Rev. Mr. Spalding, who, for the sake of his 
family, ought to abandon the Clearwater mission without delay, 
and retire to a place of safety, as he cannot remain at that isolated 
station without imminent risk in the present excited and irritable 
state of the Indian population. 

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant, 


Frenchmen had died recently, and he wished to get others to occupy their places." 
Mr. Hinman, needing medicines for the sick Indians in his vicinity, offered to 
accompany him, leaving his wife and child, Mr. McKiuney and wife, Dr. Saffaraus, 
and Perrin Whitman at The Dalles. It was not until the messenger was below the 
cascades that he revealed to Hinman his errand, and the particulars of the tragedy 
at Waiilatpu. Mr. Hinman, naturally, was filled with anxiety for his family and 
friends, and very indignant because the Frenchman had not disobeyed orders or 
that he had received such orders. Yet, as it proved, this wasjthe very wisest course 
to have pursued ; for had the Columbia river Indians gotten hold of the matter at 
that time, before Mr. Ogden had time to see the Cayuses, he might not so easily have 
prevailed on them to release the captives. Hinman s letter, written at Vancouver, 
urges the governor to send a military company to The Dalles for his protection ; and 
also men to rescue the women and children. Knowing this, and not knowing what 
course the governor would take, compelled Mr. Ogden to say to the Indians that he 
could not promise what the Americans would do. 


The governor sent into the legislative assembly the 
above letters, with the following message: 

To the Honorable Legislative Assembly, Oregon : 

GENTLEMEN : It is my painful duty to lay the inclosed commu 
nications before your honorable body. They will give you the par 
ticulars of the horrible massacre committed by the Cayuse Indians 
on the residents at Waiilatpu. This is one of the most distressing 
circumstances that has occurred in our territory, and one that calls 
for immediate and prompt action. I am aware that to meet this 
case funds will be required, and suggest the propriety of applying 
to the Hudson s Bay Company, and the merchants of this place, for 
a loan to carry out whatever plan you may fix upon. I have no 
doubt but the expense attending this affair will be promptly met by 
the United States government. 

The wives and children of the murdered persons, the Rev. Mr. 
Spalding and family, and all others who may be in the upper coun 
try, should at once be proffered assistance, and an escort to convey 
them to places of safety. 

I have the honor to remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant, 


While the hearts of the legislators were bursting with 
pain and indignation for the crime they were called upon 
to mourn, and perhaps to avenge, there was something 
almost farcical in the situation. Funds! Funds to prose 
cute a possible war! There was in the treasury of Oregon 
the sum of forty-three dollars and seventy-two cents, with 
an outstanding indebtedness of four thousand and seventy- 
nine dollars and seventy-four cents. Money! Money in 
deed! Where was money to come from in Oregon? The 
governor s first thought had been the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany. It was always the company the colonists thought 
of first when they were in trouble. But there might be 
some difficulty about a loan from that source. Had not 
the board of London managers warned the Oregon officers 
to avoid American securities, and "stick to their beaver 
skins?" And had not Dr. McLoughlin resigned from his 
position as head of the company in Oregon because the 
London board reproved him for assisting immigrants, and 
thereby encouraging the American occupation of the coun- 


try? And now there was an Indian war impending, with 
onty these gentlemen who had been ordered to "stick to 
their beaver skins" to turn to. There were the merchants 
of Oregon City, to be sure a few hundred might be raised 
among them. And there was the Methodist mission the 
governor had not mentioned that but; well, they could 
try it! 

The first resolution offered after the reading of the doc 
uments submitted by the governor, was the following, by 
J. W. Nesrnith: "That the governor is hereby required 
to raise arms and equip a company of riflemen, not to 
exceed fifty men, with their captain and subaltern officers, 
and dispatch them forthwith to occupy the mission station 
at The Dalles on the Columbia river, and hold possession 
of the same until reinforcements can arrive at that point, 
or other means be taken as the government may think 
advisable," which resolution was adopted. A committee 
consisting of Nesmith, Rees, and Crawford was appointed 
to wait upon the governor, which reported the executive s 
answer, that he would "use his utmost endeavors;" and 
the house immediately adjourned to attend a public 

It was a day of wrath as well as of sorrow and appre 
hension. It hardly needed the stirring appeals of J. W. 
Nesmith, II. A. G. Lee, and Samuel K. Barlow, to encour 
age volunteering. A company of riflemen was enlisted at 
once, which was sworn in, and officered the following day. 5 

"The names of this first company raised for the defense of Oregon from Indian 
warfare were : Samuel K. Barlow, Daniel P. Barnes, William Beekmaii, G. W. Bos- 
worth, William Berry, Benjamin Bratton, John Bolton, William M. Carpenter, Henry 
W. Coe, Stephen dimming, John C. Danford, C. H. Deifeudorf, Davia Everest, John 
Fleming, John Finuer, John G. Gibson, Jacob Johnson, Samuel A. Jackson, James 
Kester, John Lassater, H. A. G. Lee, John Lyttle, Henry Levalley, Joel McKee, J. H. 
McMillan, George Moore, Joseph Magone. Edward Marsh, J. W. Morgan, Nathan 
Olney, Joseph B. Procter, Thomas Purvis, Edward Robinson, John E. Ross, J. S. 
Rinearson, John Richardson, B. B. Rogers, C. W. Savage, S. W. Shannon, A. J. 
Thomas, O. F. Tapper, R. S. Tupper, Isaac Walgamoutts, Joel Witchey, George 
Wesley, George W. Weston. The officers elected by the company were: H. A. 
G. Lee, captain ; Joseph Magone, first lieutenant : John E. Ross, second lieutenant ; 
J. S. Rinearson, orderly sergeant; J. H. McMillan, first duty sergeant; C. W. Savage, 
second duty sergeant ; Stephen Gumming, third duty sergeant ; William Berry, fourth 
duty sergeant. 


By noon of the ninth the company was equipped as well 
as, with the means at hand, it could be. Meanwhile, the 
ladies of Oregon City had not been idle, but, assembling 
at the "City hotel," presented the company with a flag, 
which was delivered into their hands by Mr. Nesmith, 
with words of eloquent meaning. The same afternoon the 
company departed for Vancouver, in boats, amid great 

The legislature also passed a bill on the ninth, author 
izing the governor to raise * a regiment of volunteers;" 
which on the tenth was returned with objections by the 
governor, amended and finally passed the same morning, 
in these words: 

Section 1. That the governor of Oregon territory be and is 
hereby authorized and required forthwith to issue his proclamation 
to the people of said territory to raise a regiment of riflemen by 
volunteer enlistment, not to exceed five hundred men, to be subject 
to the rules and articles of war of the United States army, and 
whose term of service shall expire at the end of ten months, unless 
sooner discharged by the proclamation of the governor. 

Section 2. That said regiment of volunteers shall rendezvous at 
Oregon City on the twenty-fifth day of December, A. D. 1847, and 
proceed thence with all possible dispatch to the Walla Walla valley 
for the purpose of punishing the Indians, to what tribe or tribes 
soever they may belong, who may have aided or abetted in the mas 
sacre of Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, and others at Waiilatpu, 
or to be otherwise employed as the governor may direct. 

Section 3. That the legislature of Oregon shall appoint one 
colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, and one major to officer said reg 
iment of volunteers when raised by the governor as provided for 
in the first section of this bill ; and, further, that the legislature also 
appoint a commissary-general, whose duty it shall be to keep a 
regular account of the disbursements of all the fund placed at his 
disposal, and faithfully perform all other duties pertaining to his 
office, and who shall perform the duties of quartermaster-general 
for the army. 

Section 4. Said regiment shall be organized into companies, to 
consist each of not more than one hundred or less than fifty men ; 
and each company shall elect their own officers, to wit: One captain, 
one first and one second lieutenant, one orderly sergeant, and four 
duty sergeants. 

Section 5. That Jesse Applegate, A. L. Lovejoy, and George L. 
Curry be and are hereby authorized and empowered to negotiate a 


loan not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of 
carrying out the provisions of this act ; and that said commissioners 
be and are authorized to pledge the faith of the territory for the pay 
ment of such sum as may be negotiated for by said commissioners, 
on the most practicable terms, payable within three years from date 
of said loan, unless sooner discharged by the government of the 
United States. 

Section 6. Said loan may be negotiated for gold and silver, or 
such goods as may be necessary for the use of the army ; provided, 
however, that the holder of such goods be required to deduct from 
the loan the value of the goods negotiated for, but remaining in his 
hands at the cessation of hostilities. 

No sooner was this bill passed than the loan commis 
sioners set out for Vancouver, accompanied by the govern 
or. The gentlemen at that place no doubt anticipated the 
visit, and had a knotty question to settle. To do, or not 
to do, what was required of them? To do it, might involve 
them with the company might indeed ruin the Oregon 
trade with the Indians, who could only hunt and trap 
when they were at peace. Should they furnish the means 
of destroying their own business, and take the risk of 
being cashiered? Not to do it, was to bring upon them 
selves the suspicion and hatred of the Americans then in 
the country, and to tempt them to make war upon the 
company, in which case the opinion of the world would 
be against them, for weighing beaver skins in the balance 
with the safety of a colony of their own race. But was the 
safety of the colony really involved? Might not Mr. 
Ogden in some way so adjust matters that war could be 
avoided, at least until the long expected troops of the 
United States should be in the field? An informal con 
versation was held on this subject immediately after the 
arrival of the commissioners at Vancouver, and on the 
next day they addressed the following letter to Mr. 
Douglas : 

FORT VANCOUVER, O. Ty., December 11, 1847. 
To James Douglas, Esq., Chief Factor of the Hudson s Bay Co.: 

SIR: By the enclosed documents you will perceive that the 
undersigned have been charged by the legislature of our provis- 


ional government with the difficult duty of obtaining the means 
necessary to arm, equip, and support in the field a force sufficient to 
obtain full satisfaction of the Cay use Indians for the late massacre 
at Waiilatpu, and protect the white population of our common 
country from further aggression. 

In furtherance of this object, they have deemed it their duty to 
make immediate application to the honorable Hudson s Bay Com 
pany for the requisite assistance. 

Tho clothed with power to pledge to the fullest extent the faith 
and means of the present government of Oregon, they do not consider 
this pledge the only security to those who, in this distressing emer 
gency, may extend to the people of this country the means of protec 
tion and redress. Without claiming any special authority from the 
government of the United States to contract a debt to be liquidated 
by that power, yet from all precedents of like character in the history 
our country, the undersigned feel confident that the United States 
government will regard the murder of the late Dr. Whitman and 
his lady as a national wrong, and will fully justify the people of 
Oregon in taking active measures to obtain redress for that outrage, 
and for their protection from further aggression. 

The right of self-defense is tacitly accorded to every body politic 
in the confederacy to which we claim to belong, and in every case 
similar to our own, within our knowledge, the general government 
has promptly assumed the payment of all liabilities growing out of 
the measures, taken by the constitutional authorities, to protect the 
lives and property of those residing within the limits of their dis 

If the citizens of the states and territories east of the Rocky 
mountains are justified in promptly acting in such emergencies, 
who are under the immediate protection of the general government, 
there appears no room to doubt that the lawful acts of the Oregon 
government will receive like approval. 

Should the temporary character of our government be considered 
by you sufficient ground to doubt its ability to redeem its pledge, 
and reasons growing out of its peculiar organization be deemed 
sufficient to prevent the recognition of its acts by the government 
of the United States, we feel it our duty, as private individuals, to 
inquire to what extent, and on what terms, advances may be had 
of the honorable Hudson s Bay Company to meet the wants of the 
force the authorities of Oregon deem it their duty to send into the 

With sentiments of the highest respect, allow us to subscribe 
ourselves, your most obedient servants, 




The tone of this communication, which argued in its 
own defense, before it was questioned, clearly shows that 
a negative answer was apprehended. Applegate, who had 
been made chairman of the commission on account, as 
much of his friendship for and high standing with the 
officers of the Hudson s Bay Company as his acknowl 
edged abilities and patriotism, was sufficiently well ac 
quainted with the internal conditions of the company not 
to be greatly disappointed at receiving the reply of the 
chief factor. 

FORT VANCOUVER, December 11, 1847. 
To Jesse Applegate, A. L. Lovejoy, and George L. Curry, Esquires: 

GENTLEMEN : I have the honor of your communication of this 
date, and have given an attentive perusal to the documents accom 
panying it. With a deep feeling of the importance of the object 
which has procured me the honor of your present visit, and the 
necessity of the measures contemplated for the punishment of the 
Cay use Indians, and for the future protection of the country, I can 
on the present occasion only repeat the assurance verbally given in 
our conversation of yesterday, that I have no authority to grant 
loans or make any advances whatsoever on account of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, my orders on that point being so positive that I can 
not deviate from them without assuming a degree of responsibility 
which no circumstances could justify to my own mind. It is, how 
ever, within the spirit and letter of my instructions from the Hudson s 
Bay Company, to exert their whole power and influence in main 
taining the peace of the country, and in protecting the white popu 
lation from Indian outrage. The force equipped and dispatched at 
their sole expense, to Walla Walla, under the command of Mr. 
Ogden, immediately on receiving the intelligence of the disastrous 
event at Waiilatpu, is an earnest of our attention to the calls of 
humanity. The object of that expedition is, with the blessing of 
God, to prevent further aggression, to rescue the women and chil 
dren who survived the massacre from the hands of the Indians, and 
to restore them to their afflicted friends. 

Trusting that these objects may be successfully accomplished, I 
have the honor, etc., 

Chief Factor Hudson s Bay Company. 

For this attitude of the Hudson s Bay Company the 
commissioners were not unprepared, and had already re 
solved upon their course of action. Governor Abernethy, 


Jesse Applegate, and A. L. Lovejoy became personally 
responsible for such supplies as were necessary to furnish 
and forward to The Dalles, the company of Oregon rifle 
men already on the way. The amount of credit thus 
obtained was within a few cents of one thousand dollars. 
Thus the commissioners set the example of self-sacrifice 
and devotion to country. 

Before leaving Vancouver, Governor Abernethy issued 
his first general -order to Captain Lee, of the volunteer 
company on its way to The Dalles, in language as fol 
lows : 

FORT VANCOUVER, llth December, 1847. 

SIR : On receipt of this you will with all dispatch proceed with 
the company under your command to The Dalles, on the Columbia 
river, and occupy the mission station there until otherwise ordered. 

As the Indians in that neighborhood are friendly to the whites, 
you will see that their property and persons are not molested, at the 
same time keeping them at a distance, not permitting them to 
crowd into the camp. If they have any business in the camp, as 
soon as this business is disposed of, see that they are gently con 
ducted outside. If you hear of any property in the neighborhood 
that has been stolen from the immigration, endeavor to get it into 
your charge, keeping an exact account of all property thus obtained. 
I remain, sir, yours truly, 

Governor of Oregon Territo^. 

To Capt. H. A. G. Lee, 

First Company, Oregon Riflemen. 

Returning immediately to Oregon City, the commission 
ers called a meeting, and addressed a circular to the 
"merchants and citizens" of Oregon, which differed from 
the letter to Mr. Douglas only in the concluding para 
graphs, which were couched in these words: 

Though the Indians of the Columbia have committed a great 
outrage upon our fellow-citizens passing through their country, and 
residing among them, and their punishment for these murders may, 
and ought to be, a prime object with every citizen of Oregon, yet, 
as that duty more particularly devolves upon tjie government of 
the United States, and admits of delay, we do not make this the 
strongest ground upon which to found our earnest appeal to you for 


pecuniary assistance. It is a fact well known to every person 
acquainted with Indian character, that, by passing silently over 
their repeated thefts, robberies, and murders of our fellow-citizens, 
they have been emboldened to the commission of the appalling 
massacre at Waiilatpu. They call us "women," destitute of the 
hearts and courage of men, and if we allow this wholesale murder 
to pass by, as former aggressions, who can tell how long either life 
or property will be secure in any part of this country, or at what? 
moment the Willamette will be the scene of blood and carnage ? 

The officers of our provisional government have nobly performed 
their duty. None can doubt the readiness of the patriotic sons of 
the wesi to offer their personal services in defense of a cause so 
righteous. So it rests with you, gentlemen, to say whether our 
rights and our firesides shall be defended or not. Hoping that none 
will be found to falter in so high and so sacred a duty, we beg leave, 
gentlemen, to subscribe ourselves your servants and fellow-citizens. 

Then follow the names. 

A letter similar to the foregoing appeals was addressed 
to Rev. William Roberts, superintendent of the Oregon 
mission (Methodist). On the fourteenth of December tin* 
commissioners reported as follows to the legislature: 

To the Honorable Legislative Assembly of Oregon Territory : 

The undersigned commissioners appointed by your honorable 
body for the purpose of negotiating a loan to carry into effect the 
provisions of an act to authorize the governor to raise a regiment of 
volunteers, etc., have the honor to inform you that, fully realizing 
the heavy responsibilities attached to this situation, and the pecu 
liarly difficult nature of their duties, they at once determined to act 
with promptness and energy, and to leave no honorable effort 
untried that might have a tendency to a successful termination of 
this undertaking. They accordingly proceeded to Fort Vancouver 
on the tenth instant, and there addressed a communication to James 
Douglas, chief factor of the Hudson s Bay Company, a copy of 
which (marked A) will be found among the accompanying docu 
ments. The commissioners had anticipated the unfavorable reply 
of Mr. Douglas, as agent of the Hudson s Bay Company, and its 
only effect was to heighten their zeal and to occasion them stronger 
hopes of a more satisfactory reliance upon the citizens generally of 
our common country. However, two of the commissioners, with 
the governor, became responsible for the amount of the outfit for 
the first regiment of Oregon riflemen, being nine hundred and 
ninety-nine dollars. Not at all disheartened by the unsuccessful 


issue of their mission, the commissioners returned to this city on 
the thirteenth instant, and at once entered into negotiations, the 
revelation of which herewith follows. 

It will be seen, by document marked C, the commissioners, 
through a public meeting held at Oregon City on the night of the 
thirteenth instant, addressed the merchants and citizens of Oregon, 
at which meeting, from citizens general^, a loan of about one 
thousand dollars was effected. 

Document marked D will show the correspondence on the part 
of the commissioners with Rev. Mr. Roberts, superintendent of the 
Oregon mission. The negotiations are not yet concluded entirely, 
yet the commissioners feel safe in reporting a loan from this source 
of one thousand dollars. 

The commissioners are happy to state that they have succeeded 
in negotiating a loan of one thousand six hundred dollars from the 
merchants of Oregon City, with, perhaps, a likelihood of further 
advance. The commissioners feel well assured, from the interest 
manifested by our fellow-citizens in the matter, and prompt action 
they have proposed to take in several counties in the territory to 
assist the commissioners in the successful discharge of their duties, 
that the government will ultimately succeed in negotiating an 
amount adequate to the present emergency of affairs. The commis 
sioners would beg your honorable body, with as little delay as 
possible, to appoint appraisers, whose duty it shall be to set a cash 
value upon produce and other property, which may be converted 
into means to assist the government in its present operations. 
Therefore, gentlemen, as we believe we can no longer be useful to 
our fellow-citizens as a board, we hope to be permitted to resign our 
trust into the hands of the proper accounting officers of this govern 


The resignation of the first board of loan commissioners 
was accepted, and a resolution of thanks adopted by the leg 
islature. A second board was appointed on the twentieth, 
consisting of A. L. Lovejoy, Hugh Burns, and W. H. Will- 
son, who remained in office until the close of the war. 

Equipping a regiment for ten months in the field, with 
a credit of less than five thousand dollars, but a small part 
of which was in cash, was what the Oregon colonists were 
now committed to. The loans, excepting the minimum of 
money, were drawn on wheat ( the currency of the country ), 
provisions of all kinds, arms, ammunition, leather, cloth- 


ing, and whatever thing could be converted to use in the 
commissary and quartermaster s department. A system 
of small loans, obtained by solicitors who gave government 
bonds for what they received at prices fixed by govern 
ment appraisers, was the means next resorted to by the 
legislature for providing the sinews of war. It was an ex 
pensive method, but unavoidable, nor did the people 
shrink from contributing in this manner of their substance 
to support the army of defense which was to save the re. 
mainder of their property and their lives from destruction. 
Appraisers were appointed in every county and settlement 
who valued every article obtained, from a horse to a pound 
of lead, a bridle or a trail-rope, of which some examples 
will be given hereafter. 

On the tenth of December, before visiting Vancouver, 
Mr. Applegate addressed a communication to the legisla 
ture, urging the necessity of immediately dispatching a 
messenger to Washington to acquaint the government of 
the United States with the condition of the Oregon colony, 
and to ask assistance. His argument was that such a 
measure would inspire the capitalists of Oregon to make 
advances, and encourage enlistment. 

This letter of Mr. Applegate s has reference to the dis 
turbed political condition of the colony, owing to a strife 
between the missionary element, which had hitherto con 
trolled affairs, and the then more numerous settler popu 
lation, each being desirious of securing certain objects, 
and certain offices, whenever the federal government 
should see fit to establish a territory on the Pacific coast. 
Governor Abernethy, the head of the mission party, had 
in October, privately dispatched J. Quinn Thornton to 
Washington to look after the interests of his party, which 
action, when it became known, had inspired the mass of 
the people, not adherents of the missionary faction with a 
rancor not before felt, and which influenced the tone of 
the legislature. Aware of all this, Mr. Applegate, in rec- 


oramending the sending of a messenger to congress, ad 
monished the legislature to restrict the bearer of dispatches 
to the federal government from carrying any communica 
tion whatever other than those intrusted to his charge by 
that body, or official documents from the executive. 

"That such restriction is necessary," he wrote, "must be 
evident to your honors, when you take into consideration 
that in order to unite the whole population of Oregon 
with you in the vigorous prosecution of this just war, and 
to encourage capitalists to advance means to meet its 
immediate expenses, the measures furthering this object 
should be kept entirely separate and distinct from all civil 
measures and partisan feelings." 

The same day Mr. Nesmith offered, and the legislature 
adopted, the following resolution : " Resolved, That in view 
of our critical situation with the powerful tribes of In 
dians inhabiting the banks of the Columbia, and with 
whom we are actually in a state of hostilities, it is the 
duty of this legislature to dispatch a special messenger, 
as soon as practicable, to Washington City, for the purpose 
of securing the immediate influence and protection of the 
United States government in our internal affairs," a copy 
of which was furnished to the loan commissioners, with 
what effect we have seen. 

A day or two later, Mr. Nesmith introduced a bill pro 
viding for sending a special messenger to the United 
States, which the legislature passed on the fifteenth, and 
one of their own number Joseph L. Meek, a fearless and 
talented, if illiterate, mountain man, w r as selected to be the 
bearer of dispatches to the president of the United States 
and a memorial to congress. 

The memorial, prepared by a committee appointed by 
the legislature, contained these pathetic passages: "Hav 
ing called upon the government of the United States so 
often in vain, we have almost despaired of receiving its 
protection. * * We have the right to expect your aid 
and you are in duty bound to extend it. For though we 


are separated from our native land by a range of moun 
tains whose lofty altitudes are mantled in eternal snows; 
although three thousand miles, nearly two-thirds of which 
is a howling wild, lie between us and the federal capital, 
yet our hearts are unalienated from the land of our birth. 
Our love for the free and noble institutions under which 
it was our fortune to be born and nurtured, remains un 
abated. In short, we are Americans still, residing in a 
country over which the government of the United States 
has the sole and acknowledged right of sovereignty; and 
under such circumstances we have the right to claim the 
benefit of its laws and protection." 

The bill providing for a messenger authorized him to 
proceed with all dispatch, by way of California, to Wash 
ington City, and lay before the executive of the United 
States such official communications as he should be 
charged with. It required him to take an oath faithfully 
to perform his duties to the best of his ability, but left 
him to be compensated by the government of the United 
States; authorizing him to borrow, if he could, on the 
faith of the Oregon government, five hundred dollars for 
his expenses, and requiring him to give bonds in a 
thousand dollars for the faithful execution of his trust. 

The borrowing of five hundred dollars for this purpose, 
in addition to the amounts secured by the loan commis 
sioners, was a task nearly as great as that of conveying 
the official documents to their destination, as may be 
learned from references to Meek s efforts in letters found 
in the Oregon archives. It was a task requiring time and 
industry, and often failed to bear the hoped-for fruit. 

Meek s credentials from the governor were contained in 
this brief letter of introduction: 

OREGON CITY, December 28, 1847. 
To His Excellency, James 1C. Polk, President of the United States: 

SIR: The bearer, Joseph L. Meek, Esq., has been appointed by 
the legislature of Oregon territory, special messenger to carry dis- 


patches to Washington City. This journey will be an arduous one, 
and I would recommend him to the favorable notice of your excel 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

Governor of Oregon. 

Meek, like most of the men at this time in Oregon, was 
in the prime of life, and had a young family to provide 
for. He could not start at once on a journey of several 
thousand miles, leaving nothing for them arid taking 
nothing himself. Neither did he agree with the governor 
as to the route best to be pursued, Abernethy wishing him 
to go to California, with dispatches for Governor Mason, 
and thence east; but the experienced mountain man was a 
better judge of the business before him than the executive, 
and chose to accompany the volunteers to the seat of war, 
and to take the immigrant route, which he had been one 
of the first to travel, as an immigrant, and which led 
through a country with which he was familiar. This 
decision, owing to various impediments in the way of the 
army, retarded his movements, until the patience of the 
executive was exhausted, as we shall see hereafter. 

On the twenty-fifth of December, after a secret session 
of the legislature to confer with the governor, there was 
issued the following proclamation : 

In consequence of the low state of the finances of this country, 
and the general impression being that the Indians of the upper 
country were not united, a small force was thought sufficient to 
proceed to Walla Walla to punish the Cayuse Indians, and a proc 
lamation was issued by me asking for one hundred men, since which 
information has been received here which leads to the belief that the 
Indians have united, and the force ordered out in that case being 
insufficient, I therefore call on the citizens of the territory to furnish 
five hundred men, and appoint the following persons brevet captains 
to enroll such citizens as may wish to enlist, viz., Wesley Shannon, 
John Ford, and Thomas McKay, Champoeg county; John Owens, 
Wm. Williams, and John Stewart, Polk county; Philip Thompson, 
George Nelson, and Felix Scott, Yamhill county; Isaac W. Smith, 
and Benjamin Q,. Tucker, Tualatin county; James Officer, Clack- 


amas county. The enlistments for six months, unless sooner 
discharged by proclamation. 

Each man will furnish his own horse, arms, clothing, and 
blankets. The companies will bring all the ammunition, percussion 
caps, and camp equipage they can, for which they will receive a 
receipt from the commissary -general. Colonel Cornelius Gilliam 
will remain at Oregon City until the first companies arrive at Port 
land, when he will take command, and proceed forthwith to Walla 
Walla. Lieutenant-Colonel James Waters will remain until the 
rear companies arrive at or near Portland, when he will take com 
mand and proceed to Walla Walla. 

Companies will rendezvous at Portland, or opposite Portland on 
or before the eighth day of January, 1848. Whenever a sufficient 
number of volunteers arrive on the ground at Portland they will 
organize and proceed to elect their officers, viz., one captain, one 
first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one orderly sergeant, and four 
duty sergeants. 

Companies will consist of eighty-five men, rank and file. If any 
company should be formed in the counties smaller or larger, they 
will be regulated after they arrive on the ground. 

As the commissary-general will not be able to furnish a sufficient 
quantity of provisions for the army, the citizens of the territory are 
called on to deliver to his agents all the provisions they can, that 
the operations of the troops may not be impeded for want of pro 
visions. Agents will be appointed by him at Salem, Yamhill Ferry, 
Champoeg, Butte, and Portland. 

Tn witness whereof, I have signed my name and affixed the seal 
of the territory at Oregon City, this twenty-fifth day of December, 


Two days later A. L. Lovejoy was elected by the legis 
lature to the office of adjutant-general, and Commissary- 
General Palmer was made also superintendent of Indian 

While Meek was making haste slowly, in the matter of 
carrying dispatches to Washington, Governor Abernethy 
prepared .to execute, or cause to be executed, his purpose 
of sending an express to California. 

The legislature had passed resolutions requiring first, 

the drafting of a letter to the American consul at the 

Sandwich Islands, "representing our affairs, and imploring 

any assistance which he may be able to render" the com- 



mittee consisting of Nesmith, Rice, and Rector; second, 
the commander-in-chief of the naval and land forces in 
California was " requested to furnish us all the assistance 
in his power, not inconsistent with his instructions, or his 
duty to his country;" and, third, that a copy of the pre 
ceding resolution should be sent to the commander-in- 
chief in California. 

On the twenty-seventh of January, the governor for 
warded to Jesse Applegate these documents, with a letter 
instructing him if he could not go on this mission, to em 
ploy some other person. The following is the governor s 

OREGON CITY, January 25, 1848. 

DEAR SIR : As Mr. J. L. Meek is still at The Dalles, and does 
not intend going to California, Rev. H. H. Spalding proposed ad 
vancing a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, to be paid at 
Vancouver any time after March twentieth next, for the purpose of 
sending a messenger with dispatches to California. I immediately 
proposed you as the man, and as the Vancouver funds will just 
answer your purpose, and can at the same time render essential ser 
vice to this country by informing the proper authorities of California 
of our situation, I see nothing in the way to prevent your immediate 
departure. If you conclude to go, let me know how much you will 
require to fit out the mission. If a government vessel comes up soon 
you can return on her. 

I received a letter from Major Lee last Sunday, in which he in 
forms me briefly, he has had a skirmish with the Indians who were 
running off the cattle. Some of our men went to bring them back, 
not seeing but two or three Indians ; but twenty-five of them were 
hidden among the hills and rocks. Fortunately, more men were 
sent out, when a fire was opened upon them, and a running fight 
took place. One of our party was wounded in the leg. It was 
thought some of the Indians were killed, as two horses saddled were 
left on the field. Soon after this, our own men being out on an ex 
pedition, brought in about sixty horses, so this puts the party on 

Thus you see the war is opening, and the Indians are uniting 
against the Americans. You cannot set forth in too strong a light 
the absolute necessity of a man-of-war being sent forthwith. We see 
that the Indians look on the Hudson s Bay Company as friends ; on 
the Americans as enemies; Catholics remain unharmed among them; 
Protestants are murdered. Why that is so I cannot say; but that 
it is so, we all know. Mr. Spalding says that the Indians say that 


no American or Protestant shall live among them. They know 
they murdered both Americans and Protestants. I should like to 
see you before you start, but this would be wasting time. This 
package contains letters and papers for Commodore Shubrick and 
Governor Mason. I have not time to write any more, but hope to 
learn in a few days that you have left, and I hope you will succeed 
in inducing a man-of-war to visit us. Should you need a small sum 
in advance, you can draw on me, and 1 will draw on Mr. Spalding 
for the amount. Remember you will be going south and getting 
into a warmer climate. 

I remain yours truly, GEO. ABEBNETHY, 

Governor of Oregon. 
To Jesse Applegate. 

No man in the colony was more capable in every way 
of undertaking such a mission than Mr. Applegate. United 
to physical strength were the scientific attainments of a 
practical surveyor, the culture of a man of letters, and the 
bearing to make him respected by men of affairs. Although 
belonging to the settlers party in politics, his patriotism 
overtopped all partisan feeling, and he bent every energy 
to accomplish the common good. Abernethy could not 
have selected more wisely a bearer of dispatches of such 
importance. Having accepted the trust, he set about his 
preparations 6 without loss of time. We find him writing 
to General Palmer, February second, " The party from the 
institute (Salem) with our blankets have not arrived, but 
we start in the morning, blankets or not." How much he 
had the country s interest at heart is revealed in the clos 
ing paragraph of the same letter: "I intended before my 
departure to have written at length to you on the subject 
of the treaty with the Indians, but time presses, and the 
hurry of departure, and the anxiety I feel in regard of 
my private business and the safety of my wife and family, 
unfits my mind for calm investigation. Of one thing rest 
assured, that I have the strongest faith in your devotion to 
the cause of our country, your sound sense, and cool judg 
ment; and whether you are successful or not, I, for one at 

6 James M. Fulkerson was the assistant commissary in Polk county, who made the 
purchases for the California expedition. He received his appointment through Ap 


least, will consider you deserving of success." Also, "I 
have written to Newell on the subject of the Indian war. 
Perhaps you will see the letter." 

The expedition consisted of sixteen men, namely, Levi 
Scott, captain of the escort, Jesse Applegate, bearer of dis 
patches, James M. Fields, John Minto, Walter Monteith, 
Thomas Monteith, James Lemon, William Gilliam, George 
F. Kibbler, A. E. Robinson, J. M. Scott, William J. J. 
Scott, Solomon Tetherow, Joseph Waldo, James Campbell, 
and E. C. Dice. 7 

The attempt to carry an express to California in mid 
winter, was a hazardous one even for a party composed of 
mountain men, trained to overcome the vicissitudes of 
travel at all seasons. Scott and Tetherow were men of a 
large experience, but the others were chiefly young men, 
new to the frontier, and although brave to meet dangers 
to which they were accustomed, unfit to encounter the 
terrors of the wilderness in its most repellant mood. 

There were at this date no settlements south of Lane 
county. The whole country was soaked with rains, except 
at an elevation great enough to turn the rain to snow. 
The route to California lay through that region roamed 
over by the Molallas, Klamaths, Rogue River, and Shasta 
Indians, making it necessary to stand guard at night to 
prevent their horses being stolen. But the party refused 
to regard themselves as "martyrs to their country s cause," 
and took enjoyment from spying out the land which was 
to flow with milk and honey for their descendants if not 
for themselves. 

"Around the evening camp-fire," says John Minto, "we 
listened to the sage utterances of our chief, whose dis 
courses on political and natural science were a valued en 
tertainment, varying this with the songs of Tom Moore, 
sung by Fields and myself, and echoed in the hearts of 

"Applegate and Minto give only sixteen names, while the muster roll gives 
eighteen. Minto says that he went as a substitute for Evans ; and others may have 
failed after enlisting. John W. Owens, mentioned by Applegate, went with the 
army to Waiilatpu, and there joined Meek s expedition. 


all for who has written songs like the Irish bard?" 
Two weeks were spent in reaching the foot of the Siski- 
you range of mountains; and here defeat if not worse was 
presented to them. It was evident that the horses could 
not be taken over the extraordinary depth of snow between 
Rogue river valley and Klamath lake. The situation now 
became one of extreme gravitv. From a letter addressed 
by Mr. Applegate to the writer of these pages, the follow 
ing extracts are made, as an interesting contribution to 
the history of this period: 

To give up the expedition and return without further effort was 
not to be thought of. Abandon the horses and outfit, and continue 
the journey on foot we could not, for many of the party were un 
equal to so laborious an undertaking ; arid to attempt to take them 
with us would so delay the party as to cause us all to starve together, 
thereby defeating the purpose of the expedition. It was 

urged that half our number, or even ten would be too small a party 
to stand guard on the march, unless Scott and his son John were 
with them. I believe it possible, with Tetherow, the two Scotts, 
and the two Mouteiths, to run the gauntlet of the Indians, over 
come the natural obstacles, and some one of the six reach Sutter s 
Fort ; and if thereby we saved Oregon from the tomahawk and 
scalping knife of the savage, the survivors, if any, would deserve 
well of their country, and those who fell would die in the perform 
ance of a high, holy, and patriotic duty. But I could not have 
these chosen companions. When a division of the company 

was effected, the two Scotts, Waldo, Campbell, Dice, Kibbler, and 
( I think ) Owens, were to return with the horses. Tetherow, .the 
two Monteiths, Lemon, Minto, Robinson, Fields, and myself were 
to continue on foot. The only thing known by any of the 

party about snowshoes was that I had once seen a pair used by the 
northern Indians for going on loose snow. We aimed to imitate 
these shoes, but could get nothing in the vicinity of our camp better 
than willow for the bows; nor for weaving the meshes than strings 
cut from old rawhide, which on trial were found altogether too weak 
to sustain our weight upon the snow. Each man had a pack of ten 
days provisions of flour and bacon, some salt, ammunition, a blanket, 
a pair of extra socks, a heavy rifle and a pistol, all of the weight of 
fifty pounds the packs being carried on our backs. * * * At 
length all were ready, and I led the way as guide. Our route lay up 
Jennie creek, about a mile north of the present road to the lake 
country. Through all that long day, as often as I looked behind 
me to see what progress my companions were making, I never once 


saw them all at the same time ; some were slowly aud painfully 
making their way, others with only a head or leg above the snow, 
and others entirely hidden under it. Ludicrous as the accidents 
sometimes were, the situation was far too serious for laughter or 
even conversation; it was a funeral procession where each mourner 
expected himself to be a corpse. 

The February sun shone bright through the day and softened the 
snow on top ; but as night approached it became intensely cold. A 
clump of dead aspens furnished us firewood, and a huge Lambert 
pine broke away a little of the keenness of the wind from our camp ; 
but it was too cold to sleep in our single blankets ; and around that 
stick fire were discussed subjects the gravest that it ever falls to the 
lot of man to consider. 

The last to arrive in camp was James Fields. He w r as a large, 
rather fleshy man, weighing over two hundred pounds. He carried 
an extra heavy pack and rifle, so that his snowshoes had to sustain 
a weight of about three hundred pounds. As soon as the duties of 
the camp were completed, Mr. Fields addressed the expedition to 
the following effect: "It is my painful duty, gentlemen, to an 
nounce that I can accompany you no further on this expedition. 
It has been only by the assistance I have received from others, and 
the fortunate crusting of the trail this evening that I am able to 
camp with you tonight, not two miles from the place of starting. 
It is impossible for me to accomplish the remaining twenty miles 
of snow that we know lies before us on this mountain. I regret 
that I volunteered upon this walking expedition, not so much 
because of the loss of my own life, as that by overrating my ability 
to perform it I occupy the place of some better man, where men 
are already too few. Before I joined this expedition in the Walla- 
met valley I fully understood the gravity of the undertaking. 
Against the performance of so great an object I weighed my own 
life as nothing ; in fact, if one only of the party should reach the 
end of the journey, and the rest fell by the way, the object of the 
expedition would be cheaply obtained. My loss will, I know, in 
crease your dangers and hardships ; but I yield to inexorable cir 
cumstances. I will get off the snow in the morning while the trail 
is hard, and take my chances alone with famine and the savages. 
I am not so pusillanimous as to die in this camp, or throw my life 
away without an effort." 

This speech was received in profound silence. No man ventured 
to express what was in his heart, lest he should be alone. When 
the silence was broken, Tetherow alone remained firm to the expe 
dition. With him alone, brave, strong, and powerful as I knew 
him to be, I felt success was impossible. We should be not only 
throwing away our lives uselessly in the attempt, but the lives of 
the young men with us, who were as helpless to go back without us 
as we to go forward without them. A vote was then taken on two 


propositions first, to leave Mr. Fields to his fate and proceed, 
Fields voting "aye" and the others "no;" second, to divide the 
party equally and go on, Fields voting " no " with the rest, because 
he believed a division of the party would cause the destruction of 
both parts. * I shall always honor Fields as the most de 

voted and illustrious patriot I have ever met. 

The party turned back the following morning, and by 
forced marches overtook the mounted division in a couple 
of days, returning with them to their homes, and all hope 
of land communication with California was abandoned. 
The only vessel leaving the Columbia river during the 
winter was the English bark Janet, bound to the Sand 
wich Islands, nor was there any American vessel in the 
river before March. The colonists were left, really as rhe 
torically, to fight their own battles. How they performed 
this duty will be seen in the following chapters. 





IT is time now to turn to the military operations of the 
Oregon government. Among the doings of the legislature 
which referred to its attitude towards the Cayuses, after 
authorizing the governor to raise a regiment of volunteers, 
was the election hy that body of regimental officers, which 
resulted in making Cornelius Gilliam, colonel-command 
ant; James Waters, lieutenant-colonel; H. A G. Lee, major, 
and Joel Palmer, commissary-general. On the same day, 
December fourteenth, and before the letter of Bishop Blan- 
chet had been written, recommending to the governor this 
identical course (which bad first been suggested by the 
Nez Perces), a resolution was passed "that a delegation of 
three persons be appointed by this house to proceed imme 
diately to Walla Walla, and hold a council with the chiefs 
and principal men of the various tribes on the Columbia, 
to prevent, if possible, the coalition with the Cay use tribe 
in the present difficulties." The appointment of these com 
missioners was, however, left to the governor, who named 
Joel Palmer, Robert Newell, and Major H. A. G. Lee, than 
whom no more competent men for this duty could have 
been selected among the Americans, and much was hoped 
from their sagacious handling of the Indian intelligence. 



It will be remembered that the prisoners in the hands 
of the Cayuses were not liberated until the last of Decem 
ber, and did not arrive until the tenth of January. Pre 
vious to this date all that was known of events in the 
upper country was what had been communicated in Mr. 
McBean s letter of November thirtieth, and although the 
determination to punish the murderers was firmly fixed 
in the public mind, it was not thought wise to make any 
warlike movement to excite the Columbia river Indians, 
but only to send one company to The Dalles to preserve 
the property of the mission at that place, and prevent the 
loss of immigrant property left there in charge of certain 
friendly Indians to await the opening of spring, when it 
could be removed to the Wallaraet valley. The appoint 
ing of peace commissioners was a measure resorted to with 
the purpose to disabuse the Indian mind of any prejudice 
against the Americans which the Cayuses were supposed 
to be laboring to create; and also, to prevent any coalition 
between the Indians east of the mountains and those still 
resident in the Wallamet, for there was much alarm felt 
among the settlers in remote sections, who watched every 
movement of their dusky neighbors with suspicion, and 
often with terror. Many of the children of pioneers still 
revert with horror to nights when they feared to go to sleep, 
and when the father of the household kept watch beside 
his arms, not knowing but their safety depended on his 
sleeplessness. The Indians took advantage of this state of 
things to exhibit unusual insolence, and even to make 
threats and circulate terrifying rumors. The object of a 
peace commission was to defeat any attempts to continue 
these mischievous influences and prevent their becoming 
actual hostilities. 

The legislature also passed an act prohibiting the sale 
of firearms and ammunition to the Indians. (This act 
was modified by the legislature of 1849 as unjust to a peo 
ple which lived by the chase, and whose sustenance was 
being cut off by the spoilations of the superior race.) 


There is nothing more convincingly apparent in the 
conduct of the early settlers of Oregon than that they 
were not wilfully cruel to the natives If there were race 
wars, it was not because one race sought to exterminate 
the other from unreasoning hatred, but from that incom 
patibility of interests which always exists between savage 
and civilized men. The iron wheel of progress never 
stops because the weaker is being crushed by it; it only 
presses on, while the strong grows stronger by mere force 
of circumstances, and without obvious intention. Thus 
while Americans of European descent struggled with and 
overcame nearly insurmountable difficulties on the north 
west coast, the more numerous but inferior children of 
the soil perished because of them, but not by their design. 
The Indians themselves perceived, in a blind sort of way, 
the hand of destiny, and often prophesied that they should 
all be dead before they enjoyed even the doubtful benefits 
of adoption by the United States government "and then 
what good will blankets do us?" they asked. 

The more intelligent of the Americans realized that a 
general Indian war meant to them infinite horrors, and to 
the Indians ultimate extermination, and that the best 
interests of both would be subserved by peace. The Hud 
son s bay officers had every motive to desire peace that 
the Americans had, and the additional one, that war 
would destroy the company s business. They believed 
that the terrible event which brought on the crisis might 
have and should have been avoided by the missionaries; 
and that the sacrifice of a few individual interests should 
not have weighed against the welfare or safety of the 
whole American population in the country. The expres 
sion, though carefully guarded, of this sentiment, caused 
in many minds a feeling of bitter resentment against the 
company, and coupled with the company s refusal to 
furnish means to carry on the war, led many of the un 
thinking and the prejudiced to believe that the extermi 
nation of the Americans would have been agreeable to 


the English corporation, from whom so many acts of 
neighborly kindness had been received. 

The company of forty-five men, under Captain H. A. G. 
Lee, had pushed forward to The Dalles immediately after 
receiving its outfit at Vancouver, in order to protect the 
property of the mission at that place, and to keep open a 
line of communication with the Walla Walla valley. In 
Lee s first letter to the governor, he made complaint that 
Mr. Ogden, in passing down with the captives, paid for 
the usual services of the Indians at that place with the 
customary few charges of powder and ball; but not to 
have done so would have been to give serious offense, and 
to have furnished an excuse for joining the Cay uses 
against all the white population in the country. 1 

Lee wrote that the Indians about The Dalles appeared 
friendly, and to have committed no hostile acts except 
thefts of goods belonging to the immigrants, which, on 
the advent of an armed force, they hastened to restore, 
with professions of good will. 

Siletza, a Des Chutes chief, was, however, regarded as a 
suspect, although he does not appear to have deserved it; 
and Thomas, a Dalles Indian, entrusted with the guardian- 

1 In his private correspondence with Lee, Governor Abernethy said : " I regret 
Mr. Ogden s course, paying powder and ball to the Indians": Oregon Archives, MS., 
85H. That there was a disposition to criticise Ogden, on Lee s part appears from an 
other letter of the governor, in which he remarks : " Mr. Canfield, I believe it was, 
says yon are mistaken as to Mr. Ogden s remark, as he was present. He says Mr. 
Ogden meant our party of fifty men would be insufficient. He made no remarks 
down here calculated to stop the enterprise, in my presence": Oregon Archives, 
MS., SCO. In a letter to Dr. W. F. Tolmie, in charge of Fort Nisqually, Douglas in 
structed him as follows January eighteenth: "The legislature has passed a law 
prohibiting the sale of powder, lead, and caps to all Indians. I consider it a danger 
ous measure, which will excite the Indians more and more against the Americans ; 
they will starve without ammunition, and distress may drive them to dangerous 
courses. They will prey upon the settlements and slaughter cattle when they can 
no longer hunt the deer. Represent this to the Newmarket men. ( American set 
tlers at Tumwater on the south end of Puget Sound.) It is oppression, not kindness, 
that will drive the Indians to acts of hostility. Use all your influence to protect the 
Newmarket people, and tell them to be kind and civil to the Indians. Use your dis 
cretion about the powder and lead prohibition ; you need not enforce the law if it 
endangers the safety of the country. The Americans about this place are all ex 
claiming against it, and are serving out powder to the Indians themselves, to protect 
their stock. You ought, in my opinion, to get the fort enclosed immediately, and 
bastions put up at two of the corners. If your own people are not sufficient, hire 
hands to assist you ; the sooner that precaution is taken, the better." 


ship of the immigrant wagons and property left at Barlow s 
gate of the mountains, was also considered treacherous by 
Dr. Henry Saffarans, Indian agent at The Dalles by ap 
pointment of Governor Abernethy, but without apparent 
justification at this time, as he was retained in service by 
the volunteers, and proved a useful auxiliary. 2 

But so shaken was the confidence of the white residents 
at The Dalles, in all Indians, that it could not be restored. 
Mr. Hinman, who it will be remembered accompanied 
McBean s messenger to Fort Vancouver, returned with 
Ogden to The Dalles for his family, whom he was advised 
to remove, until peace was restored, to the Wallamet. On 
their way down the river, Saffarans, being behind him, 
was alarmed by seeing a fleet of canoes approaching, and 
Hinman also mistaking Lee s company for Indians, fled 
into the woods. SafFarans, however, subsequently returned 
to The Dalles, and resumed his duties as agent, finding 
the Indians about his agency, either through fear or friend 
ship, more tractable than he expected. 

Before the army, which was congregating at Portland, 
could move up the river, it was necessary to establish a 
base of supplies at the cascades, and a few men were sent 
to that point by the commissary-general about the last of 
December to erect a storehouse, and possibly a block 
house. 4 The only structures he succeeded in erecting were 
some cabins at the upper landing, and these with the 
greatest difficulty. But the place was dignified by the 
name of Fort Gilliam, although the volunteers more often 
spoke of it as "The Cabins." 

The history of this little post in the heart of the great 

- His services were certified to by Captain Maxon, in order that he might collect 
pay. The certificate is dated April 26, 1852. 

3 Gilliam wrote his wife he had a tedious time in Portland. He " had to be colo 
nel, major, adjutant, captain, sergeant, and everything else." 

4 Says Abernethy in a letter to Lee, January first : " I think, if there is any pros 
pect of a general war with Indians, of building a blockhouse at the cascades, keep 
ing a small force there, and, if possible, mount one or two guns " : Oregon Archives, 
MS. 851. 


Oregon Sierras became a most interesting one. It was 
here that the hardest struggle of the war was carried on 
not in fighting Indians, but in keeping the men in the 
field who had undertaken to do the fighting. In point of 
fact, the commissary department was charged with the 
principal burden of the war, and the title of "general" 
which Palmer acquired through being at the head of this 
department, might well have been bestowed upon him for 
his services in sustaining the organization of the army 
under conditions such as existed in Oregon in 1847-48. 
Without arms, without roads, without transportation, other 
than small boats and pack horses, without comfortable 
winter clothing and with scanty food, the war was to be 
carried on at a distance of nearly three hundred miles 
from the settlements. And if the volunteer soldiers were 
called upon to endure these hardships, which General 
Palmer was doing his best to overcome, the commissioned 
officers were no less embarrassed by the want of the most 
ordinary appliances of their rank or position even to 
the want of a proper field glass! Says Governor Aber- 
nethy in a letter to Lee, written January fifth, before Col 
onel Gilliam had started from the rendezvous: "Mr. 
McMillan has the spyglass and papers. He can tell 
you we are getting lots of pork, and some wheat. * * * 
Perhaps we can get some small cannon ; I hope so." Also, 
under the same date: "There is considerable ammuni 
tion in one of Mr. Whitcomb s wagons; but it would not 
do to overhaul any wagons out at the gate where they are, 
as the Indians might overhaul after you. This step is dis 
cretionary with you." 5 

Lee, meanwhile, was finding out the temper of the 
Indians above The Dalles. On the eighth of January a 

5 Oregon Archives, 859. Letters from various persons concerning affairs at Fort Gil 
liam, give graphic accounts of their condition. There is among the papers in the 
Oregon archives a receipt given by Lieutenant-Colonel James Waters, January 22, 
1848, for " four pairs pants, two coats, seven pairs shoes, six cotton shirts, two flan 
nel shirts, one wool hat, three pairs socks, two comforters, four camp kettles, twenty- 
four tin cups, ten pounds tobacco, fifteen pounds flour. On the same paper is a 
memorandum : " Distributed for the use of the army at Fort Gilliam, January thir 
tieth, one pound of powder ; receipted for at Portland." 


party of them was discovered gathering up the stock left 
by the immigrants at the mission with the apparent 
intention of driving it away. A detachment of seventeen 
men was ordered out, and Lee went in pursuit of the rob 
bers, when a running fight ensued which lasted two hours, 
in which Sergeant William Berry was wounded. Three 
Indians were killed, and one wounded. The marauders, 
twenty- three in number, were well mounted, while some 
of the volunteers were on foot. The advantage thus 
given the Indians enabled them to drive off the herd of 
three hundred cattle a serious loss in a country desti 
tute of provisions. During the skirmish the Indians 
repeatedly called out, "We are good Cay uses; come on, 
you Americans, and fight us ! " 

On the following morning a detachment going out to 
help in the Des Chutes chief, Siletza, who had been robbed 
for refusing to join the thieves, about one-third of whom 
were Cay uses, captured sixty Indian horses, regarded as a 
poor offset to three hundred beef cattle. 

As this act of hostility occurred immediately after Mr. 
Ogden with the captives passed The Dalles, it was no 
doubt undertaken by the Cay uses in retaliation for the 
apparent violation of the agreement made at the council 
in the Cayuse country, that commissioners should be sent 
up to treat for peace, and that during the interim no war 
measures should be adopted by either side. The presence 
of armed men at The Dalles, and the rumors of more 
expected, dissolved the compact, of which freedom the 
Cayuses hastened to take advantage. 

About this time Colonel Gilliam was enabled to make a 
start for The Dalles, with a single company, several others 
being on the way to the rendezvous in Portland. As 
Abernethy had written to Lee, it was a task to get several 
hundred men together, prepared to be absent from homes 
where they were needed, for a period of six months. 

The colonel of the first regiment of Oregon riflemen 


was a man in the prime of life, of impulsive temper, 
brave, headstrong, but conscientious. An immigrant of 
1844, he was deeply imbued with the "fifty-four-forty or 
fight" political ideas of the Polk presidential campaign, 
and still cherished radical sentiments in regard to the 
rights of the English occupants of the country. 6 He was, 
in short, of that order of men who fought and prayed 
with an equal degree of earnestness, the Oliver Crom wells 
of the frontier states, and was quite capable of believing 
the English fur company guilty of cherishing heinous 
designs towards the American colony. 

Just when public feeling was most sensitive, there had 
come to Oregon City the captives, with their wild conjec 
tures as to the cause of their fearful wrongs. Naturally, 
having a high respect and regard for Dr. Whitman and 
his calling as a missionary teacher, and feeling the deepest 
sorrow for his fate and that of Mrs. Whitman, they re 
called as "confirmation strong as proof of holy writ," 
every chance expression of sectarian aversion to, or sus 
picion of the Catholics which had been let fall in their 
hearing, and with Mr. Spalding s assistance, who had 
quickly forgotten his obligations to Rev. Brouillet, and 
the suggestions of other even more intolerant sectarians 
in the Wallamet, had convinced, themselves that religious 
bigotry had led the Catholics to instigate the crime of the 

One of the strongest proofs in their view, was that none 
of the Catholics about the mission, or in the Cayuse coun 
try, were included in the slaughter; entirely ignoring the 

6 Cornelius Gilliam was forty-nine years of age, and by birth a North Carolinian, 
though he had removed to Missouri while still a child. In 1830 he was commissioned 
sheriff of Clay county in that state. He served in the Black Hawk Indian war, begun 
in 1832, and in the Seminole war in Florida in 1835. In the campaign of 18S7-8, under 
General Taylor, he served as captain of a company, and was captain in the state 
militia used to expel the Mormons from Missouri, being raised to a colonelcy for 
meritorious conduct. Soon after he was elected to the legislature from 1 Andrew 
county. In 1844 he led a large company of immigrants to Oregon. Having been 
ordained to the work of the ministry in the Freewill Baptist denomination, on set 
tling in Polk county, he organized a church in the Gage settlement on the North 
Luckiamute, and officiated as its minister. 


fact that the war was against Americans only, and that, 
the Catholics were not only foreigners, but French-Cana 
dians, with whom the Indians had no quarrel whatever; 
and also overlooking the fact that all the help which had 
come to them in their distress, had been rendered by these 
same Catholic foreigners, whose only offense was that they 
knew the Indians well enough not to offend them by too 
open sympathy with their prisoners. To have provoked 
their resentment in this crisis, would have only had the 
effect to bring on a second massacre, in which none would 
have been spared. 

Again, the Hudson s Bay Company was denounced as 
Catholic, its employes being French-Canadians, and its 
former head, Dr. McLoughlin (who about this time had 
retired from the service to settle among the Americans at 
Oregon City), having been converted to Catholicism soon 
after the coming of Blanchet to Oregon. It counted as 
nothing against these prejudices that Mr. Douglas, Mc- 
Loughlin s successor, Mr. Ogden, Mr. McKinlay, Mr. Erma- 
tinger, and many other officers and clerks of the company 
were Protestants all were under condemnation. 

It is necessary to recall this condition of the public mind 
in Oregon at this time in order to make clear all that fol 
lowed. It should at the same time be remembered that 
the period at which the events here recorded occurred, was 
one of great religious feeling; that the average Christian 
of that day was pledged in his own conscience to be a 
bigot; and that the sensibilities of the Protestant world 
had been shocked only a few years before by the burning 
of bibles in New York City by Catholics. Under these 
circumstances and influences a large degree of intolerance 
was to be expected. It would be well to remember at the 
same time that one of the valued qualities of a strong man 
is to be a good hater. In this respect Colonel Gilliam and 
a number of the religious men in the country were un 
usually strong. 

The politics of the Methodist mission, of which Gov- 


ernor Abernethy was financial agent, were decidedly anti- 
Hudsou s bay, as its religion was anti-Catholic. It hap 
pened then that when all the documents relating to the 
council with the Nez Perces, and Mr. Spalding s letter to 
the bishop of Walla Walla, in which he said, "My object 
in writing is principally to give information through you 
to the Cayuses that it is our wish to have peace; that we 
do not wish the Americans to come from below to avenge 
the wrong; we hope the Cayuses and Americans will be 
on friendly terms; that Americans will no more come in 
their country unless they wish it. As soon as these men 
return, I hope, if alive, to send them to the governor to 
prevent Americans from coming up to molest the Cayuses 
for what is done. * * * Our help, under God, is in 
your hands and in the hands of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany " were given into the governor s hands by Mr. Og- 
den, he desired to suppress those portions of it which 
revealed the duplicity of the author, pardonable perhaps 
under the circumstances, but Mr. Ogden would not con 
sent, saying that if any part were to be published the 
whole must be, in justice to all concerned. 

This position of the Hudson s Bay Company for Og 
den was second in command at Vancouver though emi 
nently just, was offensive to the ultra anti-British and 
anti-Catholic party, and most of all to Colonel Gilliam, 
who before setting out for The Dalles, was said to have 
declared his intention of pulling down Fort Vancouver 
about the ears of its inmates. 

There is a humorous side to this effervescence of national 
dislike, namely, that many believed he could carry out this 
threat; and that the company believed that he would, or 
at least that he might attempt it; wherefore, under pre 
tense of being afraid of the Indians, it proceeded to 
strengthen its walls, and mount its unused ordnance. 

The following correspondence remains in evidence of 
how near the provisional government of Oregon was 
brought to a war with Great Britain: 


FORT VANCOUVER, December 31, 1847. 
To Governor George Abernethy, Esq.: 

SIR : A rumor having been in circulation for some days past, 
that it is General Gilliam s intention to levy contributions on the 
Hudson s Bay Company s property, for the purpose of completing 
the equipment of the troops ordered out in your late proclamation 
for the intended operations against the Indians, I feel it my duty to 
communicate with you frankly on the subject, as it is most import 
ant in the present critical state of our Indian relations that there 
should be an entire absence of distrust, and that the most perfect 
unanimity should exist among the whites of every class. From my 
personal knowledge of General Gilliam, and his highly respectable 
character, I should be the last person to believe him capable of com 
mitting an outrage which may prove so disastrous in the immediate 
and remoter consequences to the peace and best interests of this 
country ; at the same time, as the representative of a powerful 
British association, it becomes my duty to take instant measures 
for the protection of their property, until I receive through you a 
distinct disavowal of any such intention as herein stated. Difficul 
ties of that nature were certainly not contemplated by us when we 
dispatched a large part of our effective force into the interior for the 
purpose of receiving the unfortunate women and children, the sur 
vivors of the massacre at Waiilatpu, who remained in the hands of 
the Indians. It was never supposed that our establishment would 
be exposed to insult or injury from American citizens, while we 
were braving the fury of the Indians for their protection. 

Such a proceeding would, in fact, be so inconsistent with every 
principle of honor and sound policy, that I cannot believe any 
attempt of the kind will be made ; but I trust this explanation will 
satisfactorily account for any unusual precaution observed in the 
present arrangement of this establishment. 

Trusting that this note will be observed at your earliest conven 
ience, I have the honor to be your most obedient servant, 

Chief Factor Hudson s Bay Company. 

To which letter Governor Abernethy replied : 

OREGON CITY, January 3, 1848. 

SIR : I received your favor of the thirty-first ultimo yesterday 
evening, and in answering it would thank you for your frankness 
in communicating with me on the subject. Having had conversa 
tion with Colonel Gilliam on this subject, he has no intention of 
levying contributions on the Hudson s Bay Company s property 
for any purpose whatever. He will probably cross the Columbia 
river at the mouth of the Sandy. I trust that nothing will occur 


that will in any way cause distrust among the whites during this 
crisis. * * * I trust the disavowal in this letter will prove satis 
factory to you. 


Governor of Oregon Territory. 

But the commander of the Oregon army did not cross 
at the Sandy. Starting with two hundred and twenty 
men he arrived at Vancouver the same day in company 
with Commissary-General Palmer, where together they pur 
chased, on their own credit, eight hundred dollars worth of 
goods necessary to complete the outfit of the companies. 
The men were mounted but had no pack horses, and the 
provisions were conveyed in boats, which, owing to their 
slow movements, delayed the progress of the troops. On 
arriving at the cascades a portage of several miles was nec 
essary to reach Fort Gilliam,and the ferry there established. 
The wind blowing through the gorge of the mountains 
made crossing to the Oregon side very difficult. A road 
from the lower to the upper end of the portage being a 
necessity in order to transport the cannon and other heavy 
material, .a company was left behind to open it. 

Colonel Gilliam was met at "The Cabins" by a dispatch 
from The Dalles with the news of Lee s first skirmish with 
the Indians, and hastened forward as rapidly as was pos 
sible, without waiting for the cannon, the commissary-gen 
eral, or the other peace commissioners. 

The orders issued to Colonel Gilliam, January 29, 1848, 
were contained in the following letter: 

SIR : I received dispatches from Major Lee, under date twentieth 
instant, in which he informs me that he had had a skirmish with a 
small party of Indians. On receipt of this you will select some of 
your best men and horses and scour the Des Chutes river country, 
if you have an idea that Indians hostile to the whites are in that 
neighborhood. It will require great caution on your part, as com- 
mander-in-chief in the field, to distinguish between friends and 
foes; but when you are certain they are enemies, let them know the 
Americans are not women. The nine-pounder has been forwarded 
to the cascades. If the Indians fort themselves it will be of great 


service to you. You will make The Dalles headquarters until 
further orders. Companies are still being formed throughout the 
country, and will be forwarded on to join you at The Dalles as they 
come in. Perhaps the hostile Indians may come down to meet 
you. Give them liberty to get close as you think they will venture 
before you commence operations. If you think there is any danger 
of a party of Indians attacking Fort Gilliam at the cascades, send 
as many men to protect it as you think will be necessary. 
I remain, sir, you obedient servant, 


Governor of Oregon Territory and Commander-in-Chief. 
Col. C. Gilliam, 

First Regiment Oregon Riflemen, The Dalles. 

A little later the following letter and order were sent: 

DEAR SIR : As Lieutenant Ross leaves this morning, I send the 
enclosed order. I do not know your situation with regard to the 
Indians, and must leave the field at your discretion, to act as you 
think most advisable. My reasons for retaining you at The Dalles 
is that the companies now forming and expected next week may 
join you; that the commissioners may also join you, and that you 
may send word on to the Indians that no friendly tribes will be 
attacked; that all you want is the murderers, and a restitution of 
stolen property. If they will bring the murderers down to The 
Dalles, and agree to make restitution for the property stolen and 
destroyed, let them know that our operations will cease, provided 
they, the chiefs, enter into a treaty to protect American citizens 
passing through their country. This, in substance, you might say 
to the chiefs every opportunity. I hope you may succeed in bring 
ing this serious affair to a speedy, and to yourself, a praiseworthy 
end. I have full confidence that you will do all you can to protect 
friendly Indians. Keep a sharp lookout for Siletza without letting 
him know it. 

I remain yours, GEORGE ABERNETHY, 

Governor of Oregon Territory. 

Col. C. Gilliam, 

First Regiment Oregon Riflemen. 

OREGON CITY, 3d February, 1848. 

SIR : I have appointed Major Lee and Robert Newell commis 
sioners to act with General Palmer, superintendent of Indian affairs, 
for the purpose of settling the present difficulty with the Indians in 
the upper country. I have ordered them to hold a council with the 
field officers of the army to decide on the steps necessary to be 
taken, as there should be entire unity between the officers and the 


commissioners. If you think it best to proceed at once with the 
main body of the army to Waiilatpu, do so ; selecting immediately 
on your arrival the best point, in your judgment, for erecting a 
fort. Grass, water, and wood will be the principal objects. The 
Indians have no cannon, and could not annoy a fort from a dis 
tance. Should the tribes combine and refuse to comply with the 
requisitions of the commissioners, I leave the field in your hands, 
respecting, however, the lives and property of all friendly Indians. 

I shall wait with much anxiety to hear from you, until when, I 
remain, sir, your obedient servant, 


Col. C. Gilliam, Governor of Oregon Territory. 

First Regiment Oregon Riflemen. 

About the last of January, Colonel Gilliam led one 
hundred and thirty men, all that could be mounted and 
equipped, as far east as Des Chutes river, with the 
object of punishing those Indians who had driven off the 
immigrant cattle. Their village was believed to be on 
the high plain, about twenty miles above the Des Chutes 
crossing, on the east side, and Lee, who had received his 
commission as major, and taken the oath administered by 
Gilliam, was sent forward to discover it. The Indians had 
already discovered ihim, and were moving their families 
and property towards the mountains when overtaken. 
He threw his little force against them, one Indian being 
killed, and two (women) captured, with a number of 
horses. On returning to camp with the news, he was 
attacked while passing through a ravine by a mounted 
and well-armed force, which, firing upon him, compelled 
his men to dismount and seek shelter among rocks and 
bushes, where the detachment remained until dark, an 
noyed by avalanches of stones rolled down upon them, 
but sustaining no loss. 

On the day following the whole force went in pursuit of 
the enemy, which was found and attacked, losing several 
men killed, a large number of horses, a few cattle, and 
one thousand and four hundred dollars worth of stolen 
property which was found cached in the hills. Their 
village was destroyed, but the old people in it were spared. 


The troops had one man wounded in the hip. Skirmish 
ing with the troops under Major Lee continued for several 
days, with a loss to the army of three men killed and 
one mortally wounded. 7 The Indians engaged were Des 
Chutes, John Days, and Cay uses. Edward, son of Tilou- 
kaikt, was among the latter, and received a wound. It is 
recorded by Palmer that the yelling of the troops so far 
exceeded that of the Indians, the latter were demoralized, 
and fled from the field. Yells were certainly cheaper than 
ammunition, if not so patent to diminish the enemy s 

Apropos of fighting material at this time, we find Wes 
ley Shannon, ordnance officer, writing on the twenty-sixth 
of January: "The regiment made a heavy draw toda.y 
before starting, in the ammunition line. I have issued 
about one thousand rounds today, which has taken nearly 
all the rifle powder and lead; percussion caps also very 
scarce. Out of fifteen thousand that I have receipted for, 
there are but five thousand left. The army will return in 
a few days, when, I have no doubt, there will be a demand 
for more ammunition than there is now in the ordnance 

When peace commissioner and Commissary -General 
Palmer, with Newell, arrived at Fort Gilliam they found 
many things to trouble them. The cannon that had ar 
rived at the lower cascades was still there. The boats 
above the falls were in bad condition ; there was need of 
a good portage, or a boat that could be run up the rapids, 
with a crew that could run it. "I believe," says Palmer, 
"that a system of smuggling has been carried on by those 
running the boats. Numbers of Jews come up as passen 
gers who are boarded by the boat s crew, select their own 
property and return with it, paying the captain of the boat 
in cash or otherwise. Frequently flour barrels are opened, 

The reports say William Stillwell, shot in the hip by arrow; "John, the Spaniard," 
also shot in the hip; McDonald, accidentally shot by the gnard. At The Dalles two 
guards, Jackson and Packwood, were decoyed from camp by Indians and killed. 


a part of the contents taken out, and headed up again. 
This is all wrong. The crew should be selected, the name 
taken in the office, and none others should be allowed to 
come up unless by special contract, and then to supply 
themselves with provisions, blankets, etc. Very many are 
going up to attend to their own property, relying upon the 
provisions sent up to the troops for subsistence. This will 
not do. Hereafter captains will be required to take an 
oath faithfully to perform their duties and to render a 
strict account for their expenses." lS Thus, while the truly 
patriotic men of the country were straining every nerve to 
carry on a defensive war against nearly hopeless embar 
rassments, the meaner element found in every society had 
no scruple about increasing their burdens. 

Pursuing the subject, the commissary-general informs 
his aide that after all he has learned that it will "not be 
possible to get the Pettygrove boat above the falls," and 
he should endeavor to make some other arrangement until 
the two flatboats could be repaired, and calls for a few 
pounds of eight or ten-penny nails. 9 He also desires Wait 
to ask McKinlay to have constructed for him two clinker- 
built boats, the lumber to be sawed at Oregon City, and 
suitable persons sent with it to put it together; such per 
sons, he understood, were to be found at Champoeg the 
Canadian settlement. 

As to other matters at Fort Gilliam, Palmer found a 
crew of six men sent down by the colonel to bring up the 
cannon still lying at the lower cascades, the road being 
constructed for a portage not being completed, though it 
was expected that by another day it would be. With re 
gard to ammunition, he says: "I have bought the powder 
and lead opposite Vancouver. You must try to raise the 
money to meet the bill." 

8 Letter to A. E. Wait : Oregon Archives, MS. 887. 

y A letter from J. D. Crawford at Fort Gilliam, February ninth, calls for " a large 
padlock for this fort," two pounds of eight-penny nails, aud eighty or one hundred 
feet of rope, " if possible ;" and asks for " a paper when it i printed ": Oregon Ar 
chives, 892. 


After assisting to bring the cannon around the cascades 
in a violent storm of rain and wind, Captain Thomas 
McKay s company 10 arriving just in time to be of service, 
Palmer and Newell resumed their journey to The Dalles, 
now called Fort Lee, and often Fort Wascopan, but not 
before the commissary had the vexation to see the best of 
the two boats above the falls destroyed by the storm, and 
the carelessness of those having it in charge. 11 They 
reached The Dalles February tenth, having seen a few 
Indians on the way, who appeared "downhearted." 12 

The army having returned to Fort Lee, a council was 
held on the eleventh by the field officers and the peace 
commissioners, to decide upon a definite plan of action. 
Nothing was agreed upon until the twelfth, when arrange 
ments were made to send forward one hundred men under 
Major Lee, with the other two commissioners, Captain Mc- 

10 When the governor s proclamation became known at French prairie, there was 
a called meeting of Canadians who passed the following resolutions : 

Whereas it is believed that several of the Indian tribes east of the Cascade moun 
tains have formed an alliance for the purpose of carrying on hostilities against this 
colony ; and whereas the exigency of the times calls for prompt and energetic action 
on the part of the people of this territory, in enlisting and mustering into service the 
number of volunteers required by the executive; therefore, 

Resolved, That we deem it highly expedient to raise, arm, and equip one company 
of riflemen to proceed immediately to join the regiment at Portland. 

Resolved, That the Canadian citizens of Champoeg county feel it their duty to 
assist our adopted country in the prosecution of the war against the Cayuse Indians, 
for the horrible massacre committed by them upon American citizens at Waiilatpu. 

A call for volunteers being made, thirty names were at once enrolled, and 
Thomas McKay was chosen captain: Oregon Spectator, January 20, 1848. 

When the American flag was presented to McKay s company, he addressed to 
them this brief sentence : " This is the flag you are expected to defend ; and defend 
it you must." It was easy to understand that. 

ii" We have a small flat here," wrote J. D. Crawford, "six or seven feet wide, 
which we can use until a larger one is made. * * * The boat is to be thirty -five 
by ten feet. We must have five pounds oakum, two chisels ( one and two-inch ), one 
jack and one fore plane, and also one small grindstone. These tools we must have, 
as they are daily needed " : Oregon Archives, MS. 902. Palmer himself had written 
a few days before to Wait, in behalf of the men employed on one of the boats : " If 
possible for you to do anything for them, you must do it. Mr. J. C. Little wishes a 
coat. Josephus Norton wishes a roundabout. You must call upon the citizens to 
aid you in raising an amount to supply the men who are boating up the supplies ": 
Oregon Archives, MS. 902. 

12 This is Newell s expression, taken from a memorandum of the incidents of his 
journey. He further says that only three men were left to guard Fort Gilliam ; and 
three to run the boats between that place and Fort Lee. " The men have volunteered 
to fight Indians, not to run boats," said their officers. 


Kay, Captain Philip F. Thompson, and J. L. Meek and 
party all of whom were familiar with the ideas and cus 
toms of, and personally known to the Indians. 

It was evident notwithstanding this agreement that Col 
onel Gilliam, and others of the fighting temper, would 
have preferred offering the sword rather than the olive 
branch. The regiment now consisted of seven companies, 
containing from forty-one to one hundred and twenty-four 
men, and aggregating five hundred and thirty-seven. The 
arrival of the French under McKay, and another company 
under L. N. English, with the cannon, added to the mili 
tary ardor of the troops, who expended a portion of their 
scanty ammunition in firing salutes of welcome to the new 
arrivals, which were promptly returned by the latter, and 
the regimental flag hoisted. 

On the day following, Colonel Gilliam informed the com 
missioners that he had ordered the army to be ready to 
march with them on the fourteenth. This order was ex 
ceedingly repugnant to the commissioners, who did not 
doubt that the Indians with whom they wished to commu 
nicate the Nez Perces would be frightened away by 
the appearance of a large force, and a council with them 
made impossible. 

According to the memorandum kept by Newell, the 
morale of the army was bad, as naturally it would be in 
the case of volunteer troops brought together in a wild 
country, without disciplining under proper officers 13 hav 
ing some experience. Many of the volunteers were irre 
sponsible young men of the recent immigration, who had 
the most unfavorable opinion concerning the natives, 
obtained from encounters with them along the road. 
They were ready to punish in an Indian what they had 
no hesitation about doing themselves. These lapses in 

13 Says Newell : i: An Indian was shot by one of our people, H. English, while 
hunting horses this day; a most shameful thing. * * * The cattle of the immi 
grants are taken and made use of for the government branded "O. T." * * * 
Several men leaving for the settlements. Captain Ross resigned. Many displeased 
with our people in consequence of bad discipline." 


discipline, together with the usual jealousies of new organi 
zations, and the hardships unavoidable under the circum 
stances, were already creating discontent and demoraliza 
tion; hence, the policy of the commander to put the army 
in motion was perhaps a wise one. This, at all events, 
was what he decided to do, leaving only twenty men at 
The Dalles, under Corporal William Williams, for the de 
fense of that post, having first removed Siletza s band of 
Des Chutes Indians below The Dalles to protect them from 
annoyance by the Cay uses, as also to remove them from 

Having no boats to transport supplies up the Columbia, 
The Dalles was made the base of operations, and immi 
grant wagons and ox teams left there for the winter were 
pressed into the service of the army. On the hind wheels 
of one wagon was mounted the cannon, a long, nine- 
pounder left in the country from some ship, and on the 
sixteenth the army crossed Des Chutes river. The follow 
ing day it crossed John Day river, encamping on the east 
side, its progress being slow. Previous to this, the peace 
commissioners had sent a flag, with a present of tobacco, 
to the disaffected Columbia river Indians, and had received 
information that all the tribes above The Dalles were 
united for war against the Americans. 

While en route Major Lee, having made a reconnoissance, 
reported the camp of a small party discovered, which had 
cached its property and retired to the hills. On the nine 
teenth he was ordered to pursue them and set out on their 
trail. From camp on John Day river the commissioners 
had sent to Fort Walla Walla by a friendly Indian a 
packet containing a letter to the officer in charge, with 
flags and tobacco for the Indians, and a letter from Mr. 
Spalding directed to the head men of the Nez Perces, 
which ran as follows: 


WALLAMET, February 3, 1848. 
Nez Perce Chiefs: 

My friends, Ellis, Kansoot, James, Yusinmalakin, Jacob, Poca- 
tash, Yarnomocknin, Yumtamilkin, Timothy, Solomon, Ishtoop- 
toopuin, Tselsootalelmekum, Joseph, Kohsh, Apashavakaikt, Rich 
ard, Heminelpelp, Jason, Anatashin, Totamaluin, Hohoselpelp, 
Metawaptosh, Noah : Quick, meet them ; with these flags meet 
them ; with good hearts meet them. From us, from the Americans, 
five go to meet you Mr. Palmer, Dr. Newell, Mr. McKay, Mr. 
Lee, Mr. Gilliam. These meet you ; with good hearts they meet 
you. They bear a message (proposals, law, or a talk); from the 
great chief they bear it. Therefore they call you to meet them. 

Keep quiet, ye young men ! do not go over to the Cay uses. Wait 
till the commissioners speak clearly with you. The good are not to 
be punished. Only the bad are to be punished. The Nez Perces 
and the Americans are one; therefore do you not depart from us. 
Very many Americans are going to seek the bad Cayuses, and the 
bad only. There will soon be large ships from California, therefore 
they otter to you a message ( proposals of peace). 

They send you tobacco, therefore meet them without delay. My 
youngest child is sick, therefore I cannot meet you. When my 
child is well, I will see you, by the blessing of God. Ever make to 
yourselves good hearts. By the blessing of God we may see each 


The messenger fell in with the hostile Indians and was 
taken prisoner, the flags and tobacco being appropriated 
to the enemy s use; but the packet being addressed to Mr. 
McBean, the written part of it was forwarded to him, and 
arrived while Timothy and Richard, two of the chiefs ad 
dressed by Spalding, were at the fort, who hastened to carry 
it to their people, with other news of the intentions of the 
Americans learned from the letter sent to McBean. To 
this fortunate circumstance was to be attributed the sub 
sequent neutrality of the Nez Perces. 

On coining to camp on the night of the twentieth of 
February, Major Lee reported having on that day followed 
the trail of a party of Indians going towards the Blue 
mountains, but without overtaking them. The following 
day, after a hard march of twenty miles, the army en 
camped at Willow creek, the wagons getting in late, the 


men half starved, wholly out of humor, and the camp in 
a state of confusion, if not absolute revolt. 

The regiment was now almost two hundred miles from 
home, ill-fed, ill-clad, with the enemy retiring before them, 
and peace commissioners going after them to turn the war 
into a farce ! If the long march was only to escort peace 
commissioners, they were inclined to turn back ; and, in 
fact, Captain Maxon s company took a vote on the pro 
priety of returning should not all the flour remaining be 
issued at once. 14 

On the following day, Colonel Gilliam thought it wise to 
remain in camp and cultivate a better spirit in the troops. 
He paraded the regiment, after which he mounted a wagon 
and addressed them in the language of a soldier loving 
his country, and feeling that no honorable or brave man 
could desert his duty; declaring, too, that the movers in 
the mutiny would be remembered by the people. This 
address, though provoking the criticism of some, had the 
effect to secure somewhat better discipline for the time, 
although the men still wasted their small store of ammu 
nition in a useless discharge of their guns. 

On the morning of the twenty-third a party of thirteen 
Des Chutes Indians came into camp, bearing the flag sent 
to them from The Dalles, and saying they had come in 
obedience to that summons. The army moved on, but 
the commissioners remained for a "talk." The chief, 
Beardy, alleged that his reason for not coming on the 
receipt of the message was that the soldiers had fired upon 
his people, compelling them to run away. He declared 
his willingness to go to war against the Cayuses, and his 
desire always to retain the friendship of the Americans; 

14 " Most shocking was this to witness," says Newell in his Memoranda. "Some 
few had bought a little tea and sugar in the settlements to use on the road, and many 
were displeased that they did not share these luxuries with the rest, and objected to 
their being carried in the public wagons ; but the officers set their faces against all 
such unreasonable objections." Previous to this, on the seventeenth, this mutinous 
spirit had shown itself in camp, the men breaking open bread, flour, and pork bar 
rels, until the colonel was forced to ask the commissary-general to take charge of the 
provisions. Perhaps the men also resented this ; at all events they gave their officers 
much trouble during the first few days on the march. 


showing his confidence in them by accompanying the 
commissioners to the camp of the army, where a council 
was held, and the Indians instructed to return to The 
Dalles, there to remain until joined by the commissioners 
and the chiefs of other bands, Colonel Gilliam giving 
Beardy a letter to the officer in command at that post. 
Beardy, also sometimes called Sue, presented Thomas 
McKay a fine horse from Welaptulekt, head chief of the 
Des Chutes tribe, who sent word that he would bring in 
all the stolen immigrant property, if by so doing he could 
secure the friendship of the Americans. 15 Newell, in his 
memoranda of the journey, states that Gillian was reluc 
tant to condone the previous conduct of these Indians, and 
would have preferred to fight them. 

Before starting for the Umatilla on the twenty-fourth, 
two Yakima Indians came to camp, carrying a message 
from the Catholic missionaries, who had settled among 
that people in the preceding December, informing the 
commissioners that the Yakimas had taken their advice, 

and determined not to go to war in aid of the Cay uses, as 
they had no cause of war against Americans, who did not 
travel through their country, and as they had been 
informed the hostilities did not include them. They 
brought to Colonel Gilliam a letter from one of the priests, 

which, being translated, agreed with the statement of the 

CAMP OF CIAIES, February 16, 1848. 
M. Commander: 

The Yakima chiefs, Ciaies and Skloo, have just presented me a 
letter signed by Messrs. Joel Palmer, Robert Newell, and H. A. G. 
Lee which I have read, and a young Indian, son of one of the chiefs 
translated it to them in Yakima language. The chiefs above men 
tioned charged me to say to you in their name, in those of Car- 
naiareum and of Chananaie, that they accept, with acknowledg 
ments, the tobacco and the banner which you sent them. They 
have resolved to follow your counsel, and not unite themselves with 
the Cayuses, but to remain at rest upon their lands. On my arrival 
at the camp of Ciaies, that chief assured me that he would not join 

I 5 Oregon Spectator, April 6, 1848. 


the Cay uses. T could but see, with the greatest of pleasure, disposi 
tions which will prevent the spilling of blood, and which will facili 
tate the means of instructing those Indians. 

Your humble servant, G. BLANCHET. 

Word had been sent to the mission on the Umatilla, but 
no answer being returned in four days, 16 the commander 
determined upon pushing on his army to Waiilatpu, with 
out regard to the peace commission, and a courier was 
sent back to inform the governor of this decision. 

The march was begun about the middle of the forenoon, 
the commissioners being in the advance, carrying a white 
flag. They soon discovered two Indian spies whom they en 
deavored to approach, but who avoided them. About noon 
a large number were seen on the hills making signals de 
noting war, arid when the commissioners advanced they 
were ordered off. They then retreated, while the Indians 
collected, coming from all directions, and placing them 
selves along the path of the army. The first act of hos 
tility was the shooting of a dog belonging to the volunteers/ 
and then the battle proceeded as only Indian battles do. 

The picture already given of the brave display made by 
Indians in their military parades and mock battles for the 
entertainment of guests, was not fully reproduced in actual 
combat. The bronzed and bedecked warriors, with their, 
painted and tasseled steeds, the splendid riding in charges, 
the furious din of drum and rattle, mingled with yells, 
and the stentorian voice of command making itself heard 
above all the uproar, creating a scene only matched on 
the plains of Troy in the days of Agamemnon this 

16 Brouillet explains this in his " Authentic Account of the Murder of Dr. Whitman," 
p. 64. The mission had been abandoned on the nineteenth, when the Cayuses had 
announced to Brouillet and Leclaire their determination to go to war. Brouillet 
further says that Ogden promised the Cayuses to endeavor to prevent a war, and to 
send an express to Walla Walla to apprise them of the result ; but that no such ex 
press arriving before the troops were there, they suspected Ogden of betraying them. 
Brouillet thought that had his letter arrived in time the Cayuses might have accepted 
the terms of the government, namely, the relinquishment of the murderers. But it 
will be remembered that troops were already at The Dalles when Ogden passed down 
with the captives. 


proud style of fighting is not maintained in actual Indian 
tactics, but the painted brave soon seeks cover, and shoots 
from behind rock? or other defenses a mode of warfare 
in which a good deal of powder is wasted. 

The numbers on the field were about equal on both 
sides, although not more than three-fourths of the Indians 
were engaged, the remainder being spectators or Indian 
women, waiting for victory and their horrible part in the 
sanguinary business the mutilation of the dead and 
wounded. The Cay uses had chosen their ground, but tho 
volunteers advanced steadily, and the battle raged all 
along the lines, which were thrown out to enclose the 
wagons and cattle. On the northeast, where the Indians 
seemed to push the strongest, an advance was ordered in 
double quick. The Indians seemed surprised, and the 
yell of the volunteers dismayed them. After one volley 
poured in the face of the advancing column they retired 
to an eminence further away. This was several times 
repeated when they made a disorderly retreat leaving 
their dead and wounded. The troops went into camp 
about dark, without water or wood. 

The loss of the volunteers was five wounded, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Waters, Green McDonald of Linn county, and 
three others. The loss on the side of the Oayuses was 
eight killed, and five wounded. At the commencement of 
the fighting Gray Eagle and Five Crows rode up near the 
wagons, as if boastful of their prowess, Gray Eagle exclaim 
ing, " There s Tom McKay; I will kill him;" but before 
he could execute his threat, Captain McKay had shot him 
dead. At the same time Lieutenant Charles McKay shot 
Five Crows, shattering his arm. 

This outcome of the day s fighting was a disappoint 
ment to the Cayuses, who had hitherto held no high 
opinion of American prowess, having seen them avoid 
fighting when weary with travel and encumbered with 
families and herds. They had boasted among themselves 
that they would beat the Americans to death with clubs, 


and going down to the Wallamet, possess themselves of 
their women and property. 17 

Soon after camp was made a visit was received from 
Nicholas Finlay, who was present at the Waiilatpu tragedy, 
and who, according to Newell, "told lies and showed 
mu^h treachery." He brought with him two pretended 
brothers who were believed to be spies. 

The troops passed an uncomfortable night, and were 
early in motion on the twenty-fifth, traveling all day sur 
rounded by Indians, and without water. It became evi 
dent that there was a division among the Cayuses, and 
that those who had held aloof the day previous were 
desirous of peace. In fact, they sent messengers to signify 
their desire, even some of the murderers asking for a coun 
cil; but the commissioners, as well as the troops, refused 
to talk until they came to water, which they did not find 
until they reached the Umatilla at sunset, by which time 
the troops were in a bad humor from the tortures of hun 
ger and thirst. 

The Indians were encamped four miles above the army 
on the east side of the river, which they had boastfully 
said the Americans should never cross, but which was 
crossed on the twenty-sixth, when camp was made a mile 
nearer the Cayuses. During these movements the Indians 
swarmed along the hills, many showing their hostile sen 
timents in many ways, while others refrained from warlike 
demonstrations, but all exhibiting alarm at the presence 
of troops in their country. After the army had encamped, 
the chief, Sticcas, and many other Cayuses made overtures 
of peace, and were told by the commissioners to meet them 
at Waiilatpu. From these visitors it was learned that Five 
Crows adjured his people, should he die of his wound, to 
fight the Americans without end, as he would if he lived. 

One reason of the hesitancy of the commissioners to en 
tertain any propositions coming from the Cayuses at this 
time was the failure to establish communication with Fort 

" Letter of Charles McKay in Oregon Spectator, March 23, 1848. 


Walla Walla. It has already been mentioned that the 
bearer of the letters to McBean and the Nez Perces was 
intercepted, the packet falling into the hands of Tauitowe, 
who, after abstracting the flag and tobacco, sent the letters 
to McBean. The answer of McBean, however, he retained 
and destroyed, and it was this unexplained silence which 
made them hesitate. 

The letter to McBean was an explanation of the pres 
ence of an army in the country, not for the purpose of 
distracting it with warfare, but to bring to justice the 
Cayuse murderers, and to prevent the other tribes from 
combining with them. He was not asked to take part in 
any way to disturb the friendly relations of the Hudson s 
Bay Company to the Indians, but, if possible, to aid in 
bringing about peace. Further than this the letter ex 
pressed anxiety lest the Catholic mission and the fort 
should be in danger, and offered a detachment to protect 
them if necessary. The same packet contained a letter 
from Colonel Gilliam to Brouillet, asking him to furnish 
a statement of the part he had taken in the affairs of the 
Waiilatpu mission before and after the massacre. Brouil- 
let s reply went the same way with McBean s, but it is 
reproduced in his Authentic Account, an abstract of which 
has been given in a previous chapter. 

On reaching Walla Walla these things were explained. 
Had the commissioners received the letters intercepted by 
Tauitowe they would have been in a position to treat with 
the Cayuses, a majority of whom would gladly have ac 
cepted peace on the governor s terms the surrender of 
the murderers. But with the guilty ones striving to pre 
vent a peace on these terms, and the commissioners coming 
with an army and hesitating to hold a council, the multi 
tude were alarmed and uncertain to a degree which im 
pelled them to self-defense, if not to aggressive warfare. 

On the morning of the twenty-seventh not an Indian 
was to be seen, and nothing had been stolen during the 
night proof enough that none were near and it was 



understood that they had gone to prepare for war: The 
army then proceeded on its march toward Waiilatpu. 

Newell remarks, in his Memoranda, that "for the last 
few days the men have behaved well," and also that 
"some hope is entertained that our mission will be success 
ful, though we lack experience ; " and further, " we have 
heard of Messrs. Walker and Eells; they are still at home, 
though in suspense and fear." 

On the twenty-eighth the troops encamped on the Walla 
Walla river, and the commissioners had an interview with 
McBean and the Catholic clergymen 18 at the fort, learning 
that much alarm had been felt on account of the combi 
nation between the Cayuses and the Columbia river 
Indians; but the Walla Walla chief, Peu-peu-mox-mox, 
being in favor of peace, was regarded as a hopeful sign. 
Colonel Gilliam seized the opportunity of obtaining from 
Brouillet an account of the events of November twenty- 
ninth, as they had become known to him. On the follow 
ing morning the troops moved six miles up the Walla 
Walla river and encamped, when Major Lee, with twenty- 
five men, returned to the fort to press two kegs of powder, 
which were secured. Another march of five miles on the 
first of March brought the army to the camp of Peu-peu- 
mox-mox, who professed friendship, and sold several beef 
cattle to the commissary of subsistence. Here the smoke 
and dust of the Cayuse camp in mot ; on towards Waiilatpu 
was observed, and a Nez Perce visited the commissioners 
to t-ake observations. On the second camp was made near 
the site of Dr. Whitman s mission. And so at last the 
whole of the horrible story was made known, for it should 

18 B. Jennings, acting quartermaster at Fort Lee, about this date, wrote a letter to 
A. E. Wait, informing him that Siletza, the Des Chutes chief asserted that "the priest 
at Walla Walla," which was Brouillet, had, under duress, been compelled to make 
shields for the Cayuses, who flattered themselves with a certainty of success, intend 
ing to march through tho Yakima country and punish them for their neutrality by 
killing them all off, after which they proposed to march down the north side of the 
Columbia, and falling upon the American settlements, exterminate the white peo 
ple. "We are troubled very much," continues Jennings, "with friendly Indians. 
Our force being so weak at this place we are compelled to be more liberal in presents 
of meat and flour than we would if our situation was otherwise. Among the many 


be remembered no one had visited the mission since the 
rescue of the captives, whose stories contained only their 
personal experiences, colored by personal prejudices. 

Colonel Gilliam with two companies first visited the 
mission grounds, and on the third moved his camp to the 
ruins. The bodies of the dead had been unearthed by 
wolves, and lay about, half devoured. Some of Mrs. Whit 
man s hair was cut off and preserved by the messengers to 
Washington, Meek, Newell, and others, and the remains 
remterred. l!) Says Newell, " papers, books, letters, iron, and 
many other things lay about the premises. Wagon wheels 
and other property had been placed in the house before it 
was burned. I got some letters, and many laid about in 
the water." That these letters, which would have thrown 
much light on grave questions, were not religiously pre 
served, is proof of a want of proper forethought and dis 
cipline. They were carelessly read, discussed, and de 
stroyed, the only scrap of information that floated from 
them to the public ear being the statement that proof was 
found in them that Dr. Whitman was fully warned and 
aware of his danger. 

Colonel Gilliam called a council of his army officers on 
the third, and the other peace commissioners speedily dis 
covered that the military spirit in their associate was un 
able to brook the evidences of savage malevolence which 
the scene of Waiilatpu presented. " The commissioners/ 
sa}*s Newell, "have no chance to arrange with the In 
dians; we are short of provisions and time; our colonel 
is quite hasty." That day a fortification was commenced, 
constructed out of the adobes of the ruined houses; and 

lodges in our vicinity there are between fifty and seventy warriors, and I am not cer 
tain of their entire friendship; in fact, they cannot be relied upon. They are daily 
asking for passes to go to Fort Vancouver, but of late we have refused them any, 
believing their intentions are not good ": Oregon Archives, 1013. 

19 It seems from Newell s journal, that Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were at first interred 
together, " with a paling around them, nicely done ; " and a board fence around the 
mound which held the other dead. These enclosures were probably constructed by 
the men who were spared, during their month of captivity. The mutilated remains 
found by the volunteers were hastily placed in the ground all together. 


notwithstanding that a few Nez Perces and Peu-peu-mox- 
mox made friendly overtures, the colonel was not softened 
and declared in council that he had come to fight, and 
fight he would. 

On the night of the fourth of March, more than three 
months after the massacre, the messenger to Washington 
made a final start for the states, escorted by a company of 
one hundred men as far as the Blue mountains, where the 
little party of nine bade their friends adieu, and set out 
upon their mission, depending only upon their own sa 
gacity, and the cap and capote of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany for safety from the dangers of the journey. The 
names of Meek s companions were: G. W. Ebberts, John 
Owens, Nathaniel Bowman, James Steel, Samuel Miller, 
Jacob Leabo, Dennis Buris, and David Young. Ebberts, 
like Meek, was a "mountain man," or trapper for the fur 
companies for many years. The others were chiefly re 
turning immigrants. 2 " 

The fifth being Sunday, the order to work on the fortifi 
cation was very unwillingly complied with, and signs of a 
mutinous spirit were scarcely repressed. During the day 
William Craig, who had joined the army, and Joseph Ger- 
vais, from French Prairie in the Wallamet, went to meet 
a large body of the Nez Perces whom, rumor said, were 
coming to join the Cayuses, and to bring them to see the 

20 The party experienced the unavoidable hardships of mountain travel at this 
time of the year, the snow being soft, but reached Fort Boise safely, walking most of 
the way and leading their horses and pack animals. Two of the immigrants 
remained at Boise, discouraged by the trials of their first three hundred miles. The 
remainder of the party proceeded to Fort Hall, traveling day and night for fear of the 
Bannocks, some of whom had been met on the road, acting suspiciously. At Fort 
Hall they received warm food and a few hours rest, continuing their journey with 
no unnecessary delay, but having to abandon their horses after two days of strug 
gling through drifts of fresh snow, and take to snowshoes made of willow twigs 
woven in shape. With only a blanket and a rifle apiece, and depending upon the 
latter to procure subsistance, they pushed on to Bear river, where they came upon 
the camp of Peg-leg Smith, a former associate of Meek and Ebberts, who had not 
abandoned mountain life, and who received them with a liberal hospitality, which 
raised their strength and their spirits together. Two of the men remained at this 
camp. Refreshed and provided with food, the party again set out, on snowshoes, 
and reached Fort Bridger, four hundred and seventy miles beyond Boise, after several 
days of hard travel James Bridger was another old acquaintance of Meek s, and 


commissioners. According to Newell, Colonel Gilliam was 
"much displeased," and threatened to march to battle on 
the morrow. "This army," he remarks, "is composed of 
different kinds of men. Some have come to behave le 
gally; others to plunder; and others for popularity. To 
do what we ought is easy, if we could act together. Cap 
tain McKay and company deserve credit. In fact, nearly 
all the officers seem to wish to do for the best." 

This criticism, confided only to a private diary, was un 
doubtedly honest, and might well have applied to any 
army in such circumstances. Yet he nowhere implies 
that the men of Gilliam s command, as a whole, were un 
patriotic or disloyal to their duty. He does, however, often 
imply that petulance and indiscretion on the part of their 
commander produced discord and disorder. Still it is well 
to remember that Newell belonged to the peace commission 
expressly in his character of a friend to the Indians, and 
as understanding their ideas, which Gilliam and the ma 
jority of the volunteers were unable to do. It was natually 
out of the question for Newell and Gilliam to agree. 

However, the colonel did not march to battle on the sixth 
as threatened. Instead, about noon, Craig and Gervais re 
turned with information that two hundred and fifty friendly 
Nez Perces and Cayuses were near, who, in the afternoon 
were brought to camp, the army saluting and cheering in 

rendered needed assistance, providing the party with four good mules, by which 
means four were mounted at a time, so that by taking each his turn in walking they 
got on very well to the Platte, where the travel was improved, but subsistance scarce. 
At Fort Laramie fresh mounts were obtained from the French trader in charge, 
Papillion, who warned them to look out for the Sioux at Ash Hollow, a favorite 
ambush. While attempting to pass this village in a snowstorm, which he relied upon 
to conceal the party, Meek heard himself hailed by his familiar title of "Major," 
and to his great satisfaction found himself accepting the proffered hospitalities of 
Le Beau, a Frenchman well know to him in his trapper s life. Le Beau offered to 
escort the party beyond the village, which kindness was gladly accepted, and one 
night journey, after parting with their friend, brought them out of the dangerous 
neighborhood. Meek arrived on the fourth of May at the Missouri river, where im 
migrants to Oregon and California were then crossing, and where he parted from the 
other members of his party. The remainder of his journey to Washington was soon 
accomplished, and on the twenty-ninth of May President Polk laid before both 
houses of congress a special message on Oregon affairs. Many amusing incidents of 
Meek s mission are related in Mrs. Victor s River of The West. 


the most hospitable manner, and on the seventh a general 
council was held. 

The speeches of the chiefs are interesting at this date as 
specimens of savage oratory, as well as showing their atti 
tude towards the Americans. 

In the absence of Ellis, who was gone on a buffalo hunt, 
Joseph acted as head man. Governor Abernethy s letter 
being presented to them, and the seal broken, it was handed 
to an interpreter to be read. Joseph said : 

Now I show my heart. When I left home I took the book (the 
gospels in the Nez Perc6 language) in my hand, and brought it with 
me. It is my light. I heard the Americans were coming on to kill 
me; still I held my book before me and came on. I have heard the 
words of your chief. I speak for all the Cayuses present, and for 
my people. I do not want my children engaged in this war, 
although my brother is wounded. 21 You speak of the murderers. 
I shall not meddle with them. I bow my head. This much T 

Jacob, 22 who was wont to play upon the superstitions of 
his people to gain influence among them, next spoke. He 
said: "It is the law of this country that the murderer 
shall die. That law I keep in my heart, because I believe 
it is the law of God the first law." He also said he had 
heard the Americans were coming to kill all his people, 
but was not turned back by the report. He was thankful 
for the assurances contained in the governor s letter, that 
only the guilty should suffer. 

James, a Catholic Nez Perce, expressed pleasure at the 
escape of Mr. Spalding, and said that he was sure all the 
chiefs present desired peace. 

lied Wolf related that on hearing of the massacre he 
had gone to Waiilatpu to learn the truth, and had been 
told by Tauitowe that the young men had committed the 
murders, but that not all the chiefs were in the conspiracy. 

21 His half-brother, Five Crows, Joseph s mother being a Cayuse. 

92 It is related by the missionaries that Jacob, having obtained a large picture of 
the devil, used to threaten his people with the appearance of Satan, and carry out 
his threat by concealing himself and suddenly thrusting forth the frightful picture. 


He had returned and told Spalding all he knew about it, 
and Spalding had said he would go to the Wallamet, tell 
the governor the Nez Perces had saved his life, and that 
theirs must tie saved. 

Timothy preferred not to talk. He said: "You hear 
these chiefs; they speak for all. I am as one in the air; I 
do not meddle with these things; the chiefs speak; we are 
all of one mind." 

Richard, who accompanied Dr. Whitman to the states 
in 1835, was glad the governor had spoken so kindly. His 
people did not wish to go to war. They had been taught 
by their old chief, Cut-nose, to take no bad advice, but to 
adhere to the good. As for Ellis, he was in the buffalo 
country, but he was confident he would be for peace. 

Kentuck, the Nez Perce who had conducted Dr. Parker 
through the Salmon river country in 1835, next spoke, 
saying that he had been much with the Americans and 
the French, and nothing could be said injurious of him. 
He had fought with the Americans against the Blackfoot 
people. He had been with Fremont in California the year 
previous, not for pay, but from regard for the Americans. 
It had been falsely said that he was with the Cayuses in 
these murders. His people had never shed the blood of 
Americans, and he was glad that only the really guilty 
were to be punished. 

Camaspelo, the only Cayuse chief present, confessed that 
his nation had two hearts. Tamsucky had consulted him 
on the subject of the massacre, but he had refused to have 
anything to do with it, giving as a reason that his child 
was sick and he had no heart for murder; but Tamsucky 
had returned to the other chiefs and told them he con 

Such was the talk of these chiefs. Camaspelo might 
have further said that at the very time he was being con 
sulted about Dr. Whitman s murder, the doctor had ridden 
many miles to visit his sick child, and had not been told 
of the danger that at that moment overhung him, by the 


child s father. But the commissioners were not intent on 
a criticism of the evidence; they were only glad to find 
that a part of the Cay uses would refuse to take up arms 
in defense of the conspirators. 

General Palmer then followed with an address. He 
gave praise to the Nez Perces for their good behavior, and 
furnished them a motive for continuing quiet by telling 
them the Cayuses by their conduct had forfeited their 
lands. He declared the Americans did not want their 
lands; they only wanted a road through them kept open, 
and for that purpose a fort would be built, and troops sta 
tioned at Waiilatpu. It would be futile for the Cayuses 
to oppose this ; it would be wiser for them to assist in 
bringing the criminals to justice, so that the innocent 
might be at peace. The Nez Perces were advised to return 
to their homes and their planting, and William Craig, with 
whom they were well acquainted, was appointed agent to 
reside among them, with the authority of magistrate to 
settle all differences. A teacher and a blacksmith were 
promised them when peace should be restored, and no 
white men were to be allowed to settle on their lands ex 
cept by their consent. On their part they were required 
to refrain from molesting the missionaries at Chemekane, 
or interfering with travelers passing through their coun 
try or coming to trade with them, to all of which they 

The other commissioners made friendly and advisory 
addresses, after which the American flag, with tobacco, 
was presented, and the business of the council was fol 
lowed in the evening by a war dance for the entertain 
ment of the convention of white and red men. 

Gilliam, as one of the commissioners, could not avoid 
acting his part; but as commander of the army he was 
ill at ease. He saw the Cayuses passing by unharmed, 
going to the Nez Perce country in the hope of inducing 
their relatives and former allies to join with them against 


the Americans, while just enough of them lingered behind 
to pick up the news about camp and act as go-betweens. 
Still the influence of the superintendent was such that on 
the eighth the Nez Perce chiefs were encouraged to go to 
the Cayuse camp, then twenty-five miles distant, to en 
deavor to persuade the nation to give up the murderers, 
the army to follow on the next day, two of the commis 
sioners accompanying it. It had advanced but three miles 
from Waiilatpu when it was met by chief Sticcas, who had 
in charge several hundred dollars worth of cattle, prop 
erty, and money belonging to the mission and murdered 
immigrants, which the Cayuses had given up in the hope 
of thus creating a favorable sentiment in their behalf. 

A proposition was made by Sticcas for a council, Gilliam 
objecting on the ground that it was an artifice to gain 
time; but it was finally agreed to, and the troops en 
camped for the purpose. In the talk with Sticcas it was 
made known that the Cayuses refused to surrender Taui- 
towe or Tamsucky. The first, indeed, had never been ac 
cused, but Tamsucky was undoubtedly guilty, and by thus 
classing them together the murderers sought to retain more 
influence on their side. In this council Colonel Gilliam 
offered to accept Joe Lewis in place of five of the murder 
ers, but no agreement was arrived at, neither the other 
commissioners nor the Cayuses being pleased to consent. 15 
Still a certain amount of success had attended their efforts. 
The Nez Perces were made friendly neutrals and the Cay 
uses were divided, so that ultimately they might have 
come to the terms proposed. 

On the eleventh the army made a fresh start, unen 
cumbered by a peace commission, Palmer, Lee, and 
Newell, with McKay, who was ill, and others, leaving for 
the Wallamet, those remaining in the Cayuse country 
numbering only two hundred and sixty-eight men and 
officers. The departing half dozen remained one night at 

-"" Seeing such a move," says, Newell, "I concluded to be ofl ." 


Fort Walla Walla, where those wounded on the march to 
Waiilatpu had been left to recover. Here again Peu-peu- 
mox-mox was seen, professing friendship and giving the 
commission much information concerning the events of 
the previous November. Here also they found some sick 
of measles, that disease not yet having abated. The party 
were offered an escort by Me Bean, which was accepted as 
far as The Dalles, the route taken being on the north side 
of the Columbia. "Our difficulties with the Indians," 
says Newell, " places this fort in a very bad position with 
the Indians, as they desire to remain neutral, which is not 
so easy to do." 

Palmer arrived at The Dalles March seventeenth, and 
on the following day held a talk with the Indians who 
with Beardy had been sent there to assist his return, and 
who agreed to remain friendly, to bring in the property 
stolen, and steal no more. On the twenty-fourth the com 
missioners arrived at Oregon City. General Palmer re 
sumed the duties of the commissary s office, and Major 
Lee made his report to the governor. 

Freed from the peace commission Colonel Gilliam, as 
has been said, took up the march for the camp of the 
Cayuses on the eleventh of March. On the first day three 
Indians presented themselves bearing the flag of peace, 
and having with them some of the horses stolen on the 
march from The Dalles. They reported that Sticcas had 
taken Joe Lewis, according to the proposition of the com 
mander of the army, but that his prisoner had been 
rescued, and the property retaken which Sticcas was 
bringing to deliver up. On this information Gilliam 
quickened his march, believing that Sticcas was endeavor 
ing to deceive him; and while encamped near the head of 
the Touchet on the Nez Perce trail, received a message 
from Tauitowe professing friendship, and his intention to 
forsake the company of the hostile Cayuses. He added 
that his camp was on the Tucannon above Gilliam s; that 


Tamsucky had gone to Red Wolf s place on Snake river, 
and that Tiloukaikt had gone down the Tucannon with 
his following, intending to cross Snake river into the 
Palouse country. 

The purpose of this division of the Cayuse force should 
have been apparent to the commander, and perhaps was 
so; but he must then have made up his mind to place 
himself where he was liable, to assault from three direc 
tions. He, however, made a night march, arriving near 
the Cayuse camp not far from the mouth of the Tucannon 
before dawn, waiting for daylight to make his presence 
known, when he advanced to within a quarter of a mile of 
the lodges. Here he was met by one aged Indian, who 
with his unarmed hands on his head and his heart, 
assured the commander that he was in error that this 
was not the camp of Tiloukaikt, but of Peu-peu-mox-mox, 
who was his friend, and would not fight the Americans. 
Tiloukaikt was gone he said, but there was his stock feeding 
on the hills about, and the Americans might take that if 
they chose. On entering the camp only a few warriors 
were found, who, though armed and painted, appeared 

The Tucannon river runs through a canon with high 
and steep walls, and Tiloukaikt s cattle were on the further 
side. No sooner had the volunteers, with much fatiguing 
toil for both men and horses, reached the high plain than 
the cattle were discovered swimming the Snake river and 
escaping into the Palouse country. The trick was evident, 
and the Americans acknowledged themselves outwitted. 
Nothing now appeared feasible, but to collect what few 
beef cattle remained, with several hundred head of horses, 
and return to the camp on the Touchet. 

When about a mile on their retreat they were attacked 
in the rear by a force of four hundred Indians, chiefly 
Palouses, allies of the Cayuses, who had cunningly left 
them to do the fighting, while the guilty among them 
selves ran away. The remainder of the day was passed 


in a painfully slow fighting march, the troops being com 
pelled to pass the night several miles from camp, without 
food or fire, to which discomfort was added the fatigue of 
the previous sleepless night, and the impossibility of catch 
ing a half hours rest, with almost an incessant firing into 
camp. Unable to stand the strain, the order was given to 
turn out the captured stock, in the hope that the Indians 
would desist from their annoyances on recovering it. But 
the sacrifice was useless, the Indians attacking as soon as 
the troops were upon the road, which was as soon as there 
was light enough to show them the country to be traveled 
over, when they took to the hills on the west side of the 
river to avoid ambuscades. "As soon," says one report, "as 
we reached the top of the hills we gave a regular Indian 
yell to let them know we were ready for the fray. It came 
right soon. Captain Halt s company from Washington 
county, and Captain Phil. Thompson s company from 
Yamhill county, were in the hottest of the engagement, 
and called for assistance, which was rendered. We then 
moved towards the Touchet, and as we had beaten them 
in the first attack we began to fear they would not follow 
us further. The interpreter was sent to the top of a hill 
to challenge them, which excited them somewhat. As we 
neared the Touchet, Shaw was ordered to take twenty 
picked men with good horses and cut off the Indians on 
the left," they having been hanging all the morning on 
the column in bunches, like swarms of hornets. 

Shaw s detachment ran their horses for three-fourths of 
a mile to a point which shut the Indians off from the 
river; but they pursued a shorter route, intending to come 
down the stream before the volunteers reached the timber, 
and make a stand there. They were disappointed, the 
volunteers gaining the point of advantage. The bravery 
and determination of a few young men saved the Oregon 
army on this occasion. The names of those so distin 
guished, according to the report of the senior captain, were 
Captains Hall, Owens, and Thompson, Sergeants Burch 


and Cooke, Quartermaster Goohue,. Judge-Advocate Rinear- 
son, and Paymaster Magone. Captain English had been 
left in charge of Fort Waters, and Captain McKay was ill 
at Fort Walla Walla. Captain Maxon was, by an accident,, 
placed in a position where he was compelled to conduct 
the official correspondence, and therefore to leave his own 
name out of this commendatory mention where it properly 
belonged. 24 

The troops on the right had also a warm engagement ii* 
passing a fortification erected and manned by some of the 
best warriors among the Indians. In passing this point 
several volunteers were wounded, one of whom, William 
Taylor, died soon after the battle. The Indians lost four 
killed and fourteen wounded. 25 Their women cried and! 
implored them to cease fighting, which they did, nor eouldl 
any taunts excite them to renew the conflict. 

The victory was with the volunteers, the Indians fioft 
crossing the Touchet. Their yells and battle cries were? 
changed to wailing; the sharp war rattle, and crack and 
ping of musketry, were followed by the nerve thrilling 
death song. 

Thirty hours of fighting without rest or food 26 had left 
the troops in a condition to be glad of a respite. They 
arrived at Fort Waters on the sixteenth, with a better 
knowledge of what was before them during the spring and 
summer, should they not be able to take the murderers, 
than they could otherwise have obtained. The Yakimas 
might remain neutral, the Walla Wallas friendly, and the 
Nez Perces keep their promises, still there were renegades 
from all these and other tribes, and all the Palouses, who 
like the Hessians of history were ever ready to fight on 
any side for hire. There were more northern tribes who 

24 Oregon Spectator, April 6, 1848. Oregon Archives, MS. 806. 

-" The Catholic Magazine, volume VII., p. 491, gives the number of Indians killed 
as fifty. It is an error. 

2 "In a Narrative by Peter W. Crawford of Cowecman, Washington, is the state 
ment that all the army ate in the thirty hours was one small colt. There is no men 
tion of it in the reports, but it is probable enough. 


had not yet declared themselves, and among whom were 
the missionaries Walker and Eells, but who probably 
would not dare to remain there after the news of the battle 
should reach the Indians in their vicinity. 

Colonel Gilliam was fully convinced of the gravity of the 
situation, and held a council of his officers on the eight 
eenth, at which there was not perfect unanimity of opinion, 
a part believing it necessary to raise another regiment, and 
(mother part that only men enough to hold the forts in the 
Indian country were required. In any case provisions 
were indispensable, and it was decided to proceed with half 
the force to The Dalles to escort a supply train to Fort 
Waters, Gilliam himself to accompany it to confer with 
Governor Abernethy on the existing condition of affairs, 
the peace commission having been an acknowledged 

Agreeably to this plan, the companies of Maxon and 
McKay, with their officers and others, left Waiilatpu on the 
twentieth of March with a wagon train. At the springs 
beyond the Umatilla, where they encamped for the night, 
as the colonel was drawing a rope from a wagon with 
which to tether his horse, it caught upon the trigger of a 
gun lying on the bottom of the wagon, discharging it, the 
contents entering his body and causing instant dearth. The 
expedition hastened forward to The Dalles, and from there 
Major Lee and Captain McKay, who was retiring from the 
service on account of his health, conducted the remains to 
the Wallamet valley, and at the same time conveyed a 
report by Captain Maxon of the recent battle, and the 
condition of the army for the information of Adjutant- 
General Lovejoy and Governor Abernethy. 

The death of Colonel Gilliam, while it was regretted 
throughout Oregon, tended to remove some causes of dis 
satisfaction in the army which was divided in its alle 
giance to its commander. By some he was accused of too 
great impetuosity, too little regard for military discipline, 


and of injurious favoritism, even of ignoring the rights of 
immigrants to their property, in disregard of the instruc 
tions of the commander -in -chief, Governor Abernethy. 
These complaints were made by officers, while the privates 
were not inclined to quarrel with qualities which were 
likely to be popular in the ranks, nor, perhaps, did they 
always sympathize with the jealousies of their superiors. 
Abernethy himself did not escape the criticism of officers 
in the field, though for reasons quite opposite to those for 
which Colonel Gilliam was censured. 

As an example of the kind of insubordination referred 
to, the following letter is quoted: 

WAIILATPU, May 3, 1848. 
Adjutant-General Lovejoy : 

DEAR SIR : When I received the appointment of paymaster I 
was wholly ignorant of the duties that devolved upon me by virtue 
of my appointment, further than that set forth by the commanding 
officer, whose language to me was as follows : "Paymaster Magone, 
whatever may be taken by the army as government property, you 
are directed to keep a correct account of, and whenever I order a 
sale, either by auction or otherwise, you will appear present and 
take note of what may be sold, and to whom, &c., &c., that it may 
appear against the purchaser on the day of settlement with the gov 
ernment." In our first campaign up Des Chutes river we obtained 
some property, a goodly portion of which I then viewed as immi 
grants , having seen several of the same articles on the thirty-first 
day of last December in their wagons at Welaptulekt s, to which 
place I had been sent by Captain Lee in search of arms and ammu 
nition, &c., &c. I merely mentioned these facts to the colonel 
previous to a sale of the property, for which I received a warm 
reprimand from that officer. The property was then sold to the 
highest bidder, and we proceeded on our way to The Dalles. One 
gentleman discovered, after packing a large pot for miles, that it had 
a leg broken off, was cracked, &c., either by accident or otherwise 
as the case might be, and requested me to erase his name from my 
list. I refused. The colonel then appeared in person and requested 
me to do it; and so it was, on all occasions. He reserved to himself 
the right of saying when a man s name should or should not be 
erased. Several of the horses sold at The Dalles were given up to 
friendly Indians who claimed them, and also at this place. After 
Colonel Gilliam left there was a new leaf turned over in the horse 
account. They were all appraised, and those who stood most in 


need got first choice. I have kept a correct account of everything 
that has come into my hands in any way, but at the same time it is 
impossible for me to send you a correct report, for if all the horses 
claimed by friendly (bless the mark!) Indians are given up, there 
will be few, if any, left. I have at present two thousand three hun 
dred dollars on my books, besides between seventy-five and one 
hundred names of persons who received horses as gifts from Colonel 
Gilliam, and with which I had nothing whatever to do, as they 

Iwere given at different times and places without reference to day, 
date, or anything of the kind. On the twentieth of March I was 
chosen to fill the place of Major Lee until the return of that officer, 
and Mr. Knox was appointed in my place by Colonel Gilliam. 

I remain, dear sir, with respect, your obedient humble servant, 


Lieutenant-Colonel Waters wrote April fourth : 

Adjutant Wilcox, and the sergeant-major, having left with Col 
onel Gilliam, I found it necessary to appoint suitable persons to 
fill the vacancy of the same for the time being. I also pursued the 
same course in relation to the judge-advocate. * * There is a 
deficiency in the number of horses. The cause of this is, that some 
have been killed in action, as was my own ; some have been taken 
by the Indians; and others have failed, and we have left them. 
The exact number we cannot ascertain, as there was a deficiency 
previous to Colonel Gilliam s departure. I would mention some 
thing further relative to our situation, but as you will have all the 
particulars in my letter to the governor, and from others, I will 
drop the subject for the present : Oregon Archives, MS. 854. 

On the fourth of May, S. B. Knox, who had been ap 
pointed paymaster when Magone left for The Dalles, wrote 
to the adjutant-general: 

The sale of horses at this place to different individuals, after 
being appraised, and taken at the appraisement, has amounted to 
one thousand and twenty-four dollars ; but several of those horses 
have since been claimed and given up to the friendly Indians by 
order of Colonel Waters, and others claimed that are not given up, 
and will not be given up unless ordered so by Colonel Lee upon his 
taking command. * * It is my opinion that there will be but 
few more horses given up to the so-called friendly Indians : Ore 
gon Archives, MS. 1004. 

As to Gilliam the man, the community of his fellows 
understanding him, and generously refusing to impute 


blame to the patriot who died in the discharge of his 
duty, the legislature of 1849 passed a resolution declaring 
that it entertained "the utmost confidence in the integrity 
of the said Colonel Gilliam, and that the stores receipted 
for by him to the commissary department, and the pro 
ceeds of the said sale of horses, were by him faithfully and 
properly applied to the public service." It was also 
further resolved : " That the heirs of the estate of Cornelius 
Gilliam, deceased, be and they are hereby discharged 
from all responsibility to the Oregon government for the 
military stores distributed to the army, and horses sold by 
his order for the benefit of the Oregon government . And 
tfyat the commissary-general is hereby authorized to 
transfer the said military stores and horses to the credit 
of their proper accounts." 2 

The death of Gilliam left Lieutenant-Colonel Waters in 
command, and here again there arose discontent because 
Governor Abernethy appointed Major Lee to the command, 
leaving Waters in the second place. His action was both 
applauded and blamed. As a rule, the favorites of the 
governor were not those of the western people, who now 
formed the bulk of the population ; but the letters from 
the army on the promotion of Lee were generally con 
gratulatory. 29 

*> Oregon Archives, MS. 2014. 

2r *H. A. G. Lee was a Virginian, a descendant of Richard Lee, founder of the Old 
Dominion family of that name. He was about thirty-one years of age, well educated 
and conscientious, having been trained for the profession of theology. But not being 
very strong in his belief in the inspiration of the bible he occupied himself with 
travel, and in 1843 came to Oregon, spending his first winter at Waiilatpu. After the 
Cayuse war he went to the California gold mines, and was successful. He brought a 
stock of goods to Oregon City, and entered into a partnership with S. W. Moss, a 
daughter of whom he married in 1850. He died a few years later while on a voyage 
to New York. 









To UNDERSTAND why Colonel Gilliam determined to re 
turn to the seat of government, the following letter should 
be taken into consideration : 

OREGON CITY, March 17, 1848. 

I received your communication of the twenty-ninth ultimo on 
the evening of the fifteenth instant. I regret that so many of our 
volunteers were wounded, and sincerely hope they may all recover. 
The Indians have learned by this time that the Americans are not 
women, and I think their feelings will change with their opinion. 
The probability is that the warm reception they intended giving 
you, having been returned with such heavy interest, will be the 
means of concluding a peace with the tribes. Fear will deter them 
from uniting against the whites. I am put in possession of data 
from Walla Walla up to seventh March, by which letter I under 
stand "that all that could be done will be accomplished without 
further bloodshed." This is an extract from General Palmer s letter 
to Mr. McBean. The Walla Walla chief remains friendly. This is 
good under these circumstances, which no doubt transpired after 
your letter was written. I have made no requisition for more men. 
The fact is, it is impossible to get men without money, and money 
you know we have not. 

I expect to hear further from you in a few days. Your next letter 
will, I think, determine me what course to take. If more men are 
needed, the legislature must come together, and a direct tax be levied 
on property. I hope, however, this may be avoided. If the tribes 



do not unite, your force can hold Waiilatpu until we get assistance 
from California. I think the Henry, Captain Kilborne, will be there 
in ten days from this, and I hope w r e shall immediately get aid. 
Please present my thanks to the officers and men under your com 
mand. I will add there is now one hundred barrels of flour at the 
Cascades and Dalles. Captain Garrison was instructed to remain 
with his company at The Dalles. 

I remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

Col. C. Gilliam, Governor of Oregon Territory. 

First Regiment Oregon Riflemen, Waiilatpu. 

Events had transpired since the governor s declaration 
that no more men could be enlisted without calling an 
extra session of the legislature, which made it imperative, 
if the war was carried on, that more companies should be 
raised, and that without loss of time. 

Meanwhile the army was in a sorry condition. Captain 
Maxon, immediately on arriving at The Dalles, where he 
found a reenforcement of one company only, under Joseph 
M. Garrison, sent his report below to the adjutant- general. 
He reminded that officer that there remained at Fort 
Waters, which was an enclosure of but a few feet in height, 
only one hundred and fifty men, almost without clothing 
or ammunition, and wholly without bread. He appealed 
to fathers to send bread to their sons, who were keeping 
danger away from their hearthstones; to mothers to pro 
vide clothing to protect their children from the winter 
blasts; to young women to frown upon every young man 
who refused to volunteer to defend their honor and their 
common country, and to every one to hasten the supplies 
for which he was waiting at Fort Lee. 

This picture of destitution, which was true in every 
particular when Gilliam set out for The Dalles, was, at the 
time Maxon s report was written, considerably ameliorated, 
as appears from a letter by Jesse Cad waller, a private in 
Thompson s company, on the fourth of April, and before 
the news of the colonel s death had reached Fort Waters; 
for this correspondent says that thirty bushels of wheat, 
besides peas and potatoes, had been found, and the mill 


had been repaired for grinding. Beef also was plenty, 
which the men busied themselves in slaughtering and 
drying, in preparation for a campaign. 

However, Captain Maxon s appeal was well timed. It 
had the effect to revive volunteering, and to awaken a 
more personal sympathy with the army. The matrons of 
Oregon City set on foot an organized effort to provide 
clothing for the soldiers; 1 while the young women entered 
into a compact to withhold their favor from any young 
man who would not fight in defense of them and their 
country. The fear of losing their land claims, should 
they long absent themselves, had kept many men without 
families at home; but in the published compact the young 
women agreed to protect the claims abandoned, that their 
owners might go to the war. This agreement was signed 
by "fifteen young ladies of Oregon City;" nor was the 
^protocol without effect. 

The governor also issued the following proclamation : 

Recent accounts from the seat of war show that the Indians are 
in pretty strong force, and determined to fight. Many of the tribes 
have expressed a desire to remain peaceful, but there can be no 
question that the slightest defeat on our part will encourage portions 
of them to unite against us, and if they should unfortunately suc 
ceed in cutting off or crippling our army, it would be a signal for a 
general union among them; fear is the only thing that will restrain 
them. It is necessary at the present moment to keep a strong force 
in the field to keep those friendly that have manifested a desire for 
peace, and to keep the hostile Indians busy in their own country, 
for the war must now either be carried on there, or in our valley. 
The question is not now a matter of dollars and cents only ; but 
whether exertions will be made on the part of citizens of the territory 
to reenforce and sustain the army in the upper country, and keep 
down the Indians (which our men are able and willing to do if 
supported ), or disband the army and fight them in the valley. One 
of the two must be done. If the army is disbanded, before two 
months roll round we will hear of depredations on our frontiers, 
families will be cut off. and the murderers on their fleet horses out 
of our reach in some mountain pass before we hear of the massacre. 

JThe president of this society was Mrs. N. M. Thornton, and the secretary Mrs. E. 
F. Thurston. Mrs. Hood, Mrs. Robb, Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Herford, and Mrs. Leslie 
were active members. 


Many young men are willing to enlist and proceed to the seat of 
war, but are unable to furnish an outfit ; let their neighbors assist 
them, fit them out well, and send them on. As a people we must 
assist and carry on the war. I hope sincerely that the government 
of the United States will speedily extend its protecting care over us, 
but in the meantime we must protect ourselves, and now is the 
time. I therefore call on all citizens of this territory to furnish three 
hundred men in addition to the number now in the field. Three 
new companies will be organized and attached to the regiment com 
manded by Colonel H. A. G. Lee ; each company to consist of 
eighty-five men, rank and file; the remainder will be distributed 
among the companies already organized ; the enlistments to be for 
six months, unless sooner discharged by proclamation or relieved 
by the troops of the United States. Each man will furnish his own 
horse, arms, clothing and blankets. The companies will bring all 
the ammunition, percussion caps, and camp equipage they can, for 
which they will receive a receipt from the commissary-general. 

All citizens willing to enlist will form themselves into detach 
ments in their several counties and be ready to march to Portland, 
so as to arrive there on the eighteenth day of April, on which day 
Colonel Lee will be there to organize the new companies ; after 
which the line of march will be taken up for Waiilatpu. If a suf 
ficient number of men to form a foot company appear on the ground, 
they will be received as one of the above companies. 

In witness whereof, I have signed my name and affixed the seal 
of the territory. 

Done at Oregon City, this first day of April, 1848. 

A paper in Lee s handwriting, but without signature, 
seems to have been written to stimulate enlistment, as fol 

He asks permission, as one who has as little to defend in Oregon 
as any one, to make " an appeal to your good sense arid patriotism, 
in behalf of your own interests, your families, your prosperity, your 
own personal safety. I should do violence to my own sense of duty, 
as well as injustice to my country, were I to suppress the conviction 
which circumstances and facts have forced upon me of our common 
danger, and of the absolute necessity of an immediate, united, and 
vigorous action on your part to secure the safety of the settlements 
by holding the enemy in check abroad, which can only be done by 
reenforcing and sustaining the troops now in the field. No country 
ever furnished a volunteer corps of braver, better soldiers than 
Oregon has done ; but these men feel themselves entitled to, at 
least, the means of defending the lives and property of you who 
remain in quiet and ease at home, as long as you have the power to 
furnish those means. * * * It is confidently believed that could 


you see the present condition of the soldiers now in the field, a 
part of them three hundred miles from their homes and families, in 
the heart of an enemy s country, without a mouthful of bread, 
many of them almost naked, and the whole of them without the 
powder and lead to defend their own lives against the attack of 
hostile forces within fifty miles of them, you would rise up to a man 
and render such assistance as is in your power to furnish them 
the absolute necessaries of life, more than which they do not ask 
without which they must return to the settlements. Let this truth 
tell upon the good sense of every man we must conquer the 
enemy in their own country or fight them in our midst. Although 
many of the tribes profess friendship and refrain from hostilities 
while the seat of war is kept in their midst, where they have much 
to lose, that friendship will only last while it serves their own 
interest, the very principle which will prompt them to join the 
enemy the moment there is the least hope of victory on their side 
for then it would be as necessary for them to be friends to the 
enemy as it now is to be friends to us. Whenever, therefore, the 
seat of war is moved to the settlements where we have all to lose 
and they to gain, we will have ten times their present numbers to 
contend with." 

The combined effort of the regimental officers, the gov 
ernor, and the ladies, had the effect to arouse the people to 
fresh activity. Meetings were held in several counties, 
and about two hundred and fifty men enlisted. Polk and 
Clackamas raised one company, J. W. Nesmith, captain; 
Linn, one company, William P. Pugh, captain; Yamhill 
and Tualatin, one company, William J. Martin, captain. 
Clatsop county sent a few volunteers. The means to equip 
was raised by subscription. 2 

Popular as was the war, it was a difficult matter putting 
another battalion in the field. The commissariat had at 
no time been maintained without great exertion on the 
part of its officers, and often great sacrifices on the part of 
the people. The commissary-general s sworn and bonded 

- The muster rolls do not always show where credit is due. H. J. Peterson of Linn 
raised a company, which proceeded to Portland, in April^ where it was probably ab 
sorbed by the reorganization of the battalion. Granville H. Baber raised a company 
also, in Linn. As first organized, he was captain ; Jeremiah Driggs, first lieutenant ; 
J. M. McConnell and Isaac Thompson, sergeants. The men from Clatsop were 8. 
B. Hall, D. H. Kinder, John Richey, R. W. Morrison, and N. H. Everman : Oregon 
Spectator, May 4, 1848. 


agents in. every county had from the beginning strained 
every nerve to collect arms, ammunition, and clothing, for 
which they paid in government bonds or loan commisson- 
ers scrip. As there was very little actual cash in circula 
tion, 3 and as the common currency of Oregon had been 
wheat, it had come to pass that "wheat notes" had been 
received in place of cash as contributions to the war funds. 
The wheat thus collected could be sold for cash or its 
equivalent at Vancouver, and thus, after passing through 
the circumlocution office, this awkward currency, which 
had to be gathered up, stored in warehouses, hauled to boat 
landings, set adrift upon the Wallamet, hauled around the 
falls at Oregon City, and there reloaded for Vancouver, was 
there at length exchanged for real money or goods. 

The collection of provisions for the consumption of the 
army was another matter, and not less burdensome. The 
agents could refuse no lot of provisions because it was 
small or miscellaneous, nor reject any articles of use to 
soldiers because they were not of the best. 4 Lead was 
purchased in any quantities from one to several pounds, 
and was hard to find, 5 all that was in the country being 
that which was brought across the plains by the immi 
grations for use upon the road. Powder and percussion 
caps were obtained in the same way, or purchased with 

! When the commissioners were making collections in Yamhill county, Dr. James 
McBride was the only contributor of money, to the amount of two and a half 

4 James Force, commissary agent at Salem, in a letter to Palmer in January, says 
he has succeeded in purchasing but six saddles. "The tree and rigging without 
stirrups is eight dollars ; with stirrups and leathers, nine dollars ; trail-ropes, three 
dollars." He bought four hundred and eighty-nine pounds of pork at eight cents ; 
two hundred pounds at ten cents per pound ; five hundred and seventy-two pounds 
or bacon at twelve and a half cents ; ninety-nine pounds cheese at twenty cents ; 
seventy-four bushels of wheat at one dollar per bushel ; five bushels of wheat at one 
dollar per bushel ; one pack-saddle, four dollars ; two parflaches, five dollars ; six 
pairs saddle-bags, six dollars. He paid four dollars per day for teams to haul four 
hundred and fifty pounds each to Butteville, where the goods were transferred to 
boats : Oregon Archives, MS. 883. In another letter he complains that the only cooper 
at Salem refused to sell barrels for any funds but cash, and he had no means of 
getting even the sixty bushels of wheat purchased for flouring, to the mill, as the 
farmers had no sacks. "I think," he says, "I can raise at this point one hundred 
pounds of flour, and some pork." Oregon Archives, MS. 884. 

5 Oregon Archives, MS. 864. 


wheat notes at Vancouver. As commissioners funds grew 
scarce, on the first call, some of the agents asked leave to 
"press" the wheat of certain farmers whose granaries were 
better filled than their neighbors; and on the second call, 
leave was asked to press seven thousand bushels, equiva 
lent to seven thousand dollars, from the granary of the 
Hudson s Bay Company at Champoeg, because " the means 
are absolutely not in the hands of the American citizens, 
and without sufficient power or persuasion to raise them 
from that source, they cannot be obtained. 7 

On the commissary-general fell the responsibility of 
deciding these matters, and it was a burden hard to be 
borne amidst a multitude of advisors and critics. Palmer 
was a man of extraordinary resolve, yet he was not 
always certain of the wisdom of pursuing the only methods 
left him to feed and furnish the army, and just at this 
critical time he was led to abandon the wheat loan as a 
means of raising funds. A letter written to him by Jesse 
Applegate at this crisis in affairs throws a flood of light 
upon the subject, and for this reason it is incorporated in 
the text: 

POLK COUNTY, Oregon, 27th April, 1848. 

DEAR SIR: I have just had an interview with Mr. Fulkerson, 
who informs me that you have become distrustful of the policy of 
the wheat loan, and have instructed him to cease operations in that 
matter whenever he had raised an amount sufficient to secure to me 
payment for the beef cattle he purchased of me for the use of the 
army. As I do not wish that you should assume a responsibility on 
my account that you deem unsafe, I have taken this opportunity to 
inform you that unless the plan of taking up wheat notes is made a 
general practice, I do not wish any notes taken up for my exclusive 

I am myself in favor of raising a revenue by direct taxation, as I 

6 A. J. Hembree of Yamhill county, in February, mentions having pressed one 
hundred and eighty-seven and one-half bushels of wheat belonging to Jesse Apple- 
gate ; also eleven bushels from Samuel Campbell, fifteen bushels from Andrew 
Smith, fifteen from Pleasant Armstrong, seventeen from Ed. Stone, six and one-half 
from A. Biers, and one hundred and thirty -five bushels from Ben Williams : Oregon 
Archives, MS. 981. 

" C. W. Cooke, April 10, 1848. He adds, " Hembree has raised some powder, lead, 
and caps, a little cash, and about forty bushels of wheat ": Oregon Archives, MS. 946. 


consider that method as the only fair and equitable plan of dis 
tributing the burden of this unlucky war among the people who are 
equally interested in its maintenance. But as the wheat plan has 
been partially tried, and has been favorably received by the people, 
and as it is the immediate offspring of the commander in the field, 
and has the approval of the executive and the loan commissioners, 
I do not think it should be lightly abandoned. Because those who 
have given notes already have done so under the supposition that 
all would be called to do the same ; that it was actually a tax, with 
out the odious feature of compulsion, and they are the more willing 
to contribute in this shape to the wants of the government, as it is 
anticipated by the people generally that ultimately a tax will be 
levied upon them against which their voluntary contributions will 
be an offset. If the plan is now abandoned those who have given 
notes will have just cause to complain that they have been induced 
to do so under a misunderstanding, and will not be likely to incom 
mode themselves much in the discharge of such obligations. 

As it regards the increased responsibility to yourself by adhering 
to this plan of raising means, I cannot for my life see that you can 
any more suffer in pocket or character than from any other which 
you have been forced to adopt in the successful discharge of your 
duties. You know that a rigid construction of your duties as com 
missary-general limits you to the bare investment of the means 
placed in your hands; but our pecuniary embarrassments have been 
such that you have been forced to supply the army without means, 
and while your opponents cry out that by seizing provisions, bor 
rowing money, and buying property as commissary-general, your 
acts were extra official; yet by taking this responsibility alone, you 
have so far been able to furnish the army and keep them in the 
field; and by your great exertions and perseverance in these unlaw 
ful acts you have gained that good will of the people they so much 

The office-seekers, of course, wish your downfall and will com 
pass it if they can; not because they have discovered faults in you, 
but on the contrary, they fear the people may duly appreciate the 
ability you have displayed, and the great personal sacrifices you 
have made in their service; and if they can, by alarming your fears, 
drive you to abandon a policy which so far has been successful, and 
obtain for you the character of vascillation and uncertainty, they 
will succeed in their object, which is to deprive you of the confi 
dence of the people, and which once lost is scarcely ever regained. 

If you have the right to make purchases and receive property, 
your right to receive money or property of any kind that can be 
made available to the use of the army is certainly unquestionable; 
so I think the only question with you to decide is as to the policy 
of the measure. If you think it will be for the good of the commu 
nity to adopt it, carry it out to the fullest extent; if you decide 


against its utility abandon it at once, and undo, if you can, what 
has been done in the matter. For my part, I would not touch a 
note obtained from my neighbor for my exclusive benefit, and at 
the expense of the disgrace of a friend. 

Sincerely your well-wisher, JESSE APPLEGATE. 8 

It is hardly necessary to enter more into detail concern 
ing the difficulties that heset men holding office under a 
provisional government without a treasury, or the material 
out of which government funds might grow ; and we might 
go far to find a nobler expression of true patriotism or sus 
taining manly friendship than Applegate s letter. Yet 
there were commissary agents and men in the army who 
were as staunch patriots, if not as able statesmen, as the 
author of this document. 

Lee was not ignorant that those whom Applegate calls 
office-seekers were opposed to his appointment, as his cor 
respondence with the governor shows, and he was reluctant 
to accept it, but was overruled by his friends. When he 
had accepted he was in danger of being prevented from 
doing anything by the ill success of the commissary s 
agents. Again the watchful Applegate put his shoulder 
to the wheel. He says, in a letter to Lee, April sixteenth : 

I take this opportunity to speak three words to you. I find some 
of the friends of the former commander will do everything they can 
to injure you. Never mind them. If you can bring the Indians to 
an engagement, and make a short campaign, you will not only serve 
your country in the best possible manner, but place yourself beyond 
the reach of envy. To enable you to do this I would make almost 
any sacrifice. I found Fulkerson had got but one beef to feed you 
up, and you know Palmer had no other resource for it. I have sent 
fifteen beeves, and will give the last hoof I have rather than your 
movements should be crippled for want of means. I found no 
money at home, nor could get any at O Neil s. I have sent four 
beeves by Tetherow to be sold, and the proceeds, except ten dol 
lars and twenty-five cents, to be given to you on my private ac 
count. * * * It is needless to say I wish you success. 9 

Lee s trouble did not end when he finally repaired to 

8 Oregon Archives. MS. 866. 

9 Oregon Archives, MS. 863. 


The Dalles in his new dignity of colonel. Officers were 
resigning and men deserting; the former, because their 
private interests were suffering, or because they had some 
personal grievance; and the latter a small number to 
enrich themselves by the timely appropriation of Indian 
horses, which they stealthily drove into the Wallamet 
valley over the Mount Hood road as soon as the spring 
was far enough advanced. 

The company under Captain Joseph M. Garrison, which 
was enlisted in March to reenforce Colonel Gilliam, had 
proceeded as far as The Dalles before that officer s death 
became known, and had been instructed to remain at that 
post for its better protection ; but owing to domestic affairs 
Captain Garrison was compelled to return home, leaving 
his company under the command of the first lieutenant, 
A. E. Garrison, who was in doubt about the captain s re 
turn. Captain William Martin resigned his command 
about the last of April, his lieutenants with him, and 
about a dozen of his men. An election for new officers 
resulted in the choice of G. W. Burnett for captain. 

These changes so soon after his appointment to the col 
onelcy annoyed Lee, as perhaps they were in some in 
stances intended to do. He reorganized as rapidly as 
possible, preparing to take the field, leaving Fort Lee un 
der the command of Brevet Captain R. W. Morrison, who 
was ordered to observe the most strict military rules, no 
Indian being permitted to enter the fort after sunset, ex 
cept upon special business, and under guard. When chiefs 
came or sent on friendly missions, they were to be well 
treated, but not given any information which could be 
turned to the prejudice of the army. He was to remem 
ber that Indians were deceitful and treacherous exceedingly; 
to make them no promise he could not meet in good faith, 
nor utter any threat he was unable to execute. He was to 
look after the morals as well as the military improvement 
of his men, and " never allow the soldiers to equalize them 
selves with the Indians." 10 

10 Oregon Archives, MS. 2009. 


On the second of May, Lee wrote to Adjutant- General 
Lovejoy : " We leave tomorrow for Fort Waters, with a 
pack horse to each mess, and five provision and one ord 
nance wagon. Des Chutes and John Day rivers are both 
to be ferried in small canoes, which will greatly retard our 
progress." 11 

On the fifth, and before Lee s arrival at Fort Waters, 
Captain Maxon wrote to Lovejoy that he had come from 
The Dalles in eight days without any serious loss one 
wagon broken down, one horse lost by breaking his leg, 
and one by running away, but three good horses belong 
ing to the regiment were found on the road. "The signs 
for a fight were very encouraging after passing Willow 
creek, but the devils feared to attack us, so we lost the 
glory. * * We are here doing nothing. I have 

been very anxious to go after the Indians for several days, 
but am overruled. Some think we are not able to cope 
with them. I believe, with plenty of ammunition we can 
whip a thousand easy, and am willing to try it any time, 
rather than the murderers should get away. The mur 
derers are on Snake river, about seventy-five miles away- 
We have already lost every horse almost, and I fear the 
consequences now. A majority seem determined to await 
Colonel Lee s arrival. I am for walking into them at once." 1 
In a postscript was added that the friendly Cayuses were 
" mad " about something ; and Peu-peu-mox-mox " very 
sulky yet. It would be better for us if they were all our 
open enemies." 

Lieutenant-Colonel Waters, about the same date, wrote 
to the adjutant-general that on a late inspection of the 
commissary department he had discovered fraud of the 
basest kind had been practiced upon the government and 
tlie army by citizens of the Wallamet valley. Several 
barrels of flour, so laboriously brought there by Max on s 
company, proved to be mixed with coarse shorts in the 

n Oregon Archives, MS. 936. 
12 Oregon Archives, MS. 853. 


proportion of seven pounds of shorts to five of flour, "and 
reel as a fox tail at that." Other barrels had good flour 
for six inches at either end, and fine shorts all the way, 
between. The volunteers preferred, he said, if it werc\ 
necessary for them to accept more shorts than flour, to 
have them put up in separate parcels. 13 And the wheat J 
for this flour had been subscribed to the army funds by I 
the people, and ground in the governor s mills! \ 

Waters also wrote to Colonel Lee, May fifth, that the 
Indians had recently "changed their sentiments" toward 
the Americans. Tauitowe, Otter-skin Shirt, Sticcas, Ca- 
maspelo, with their people, had returned to the Umatilla, 
and professed friendship, but he distrusted them. The 
plains in that direction were covered with their stock, and 
among them he believed the stock of the murderers was 
herded. Welaptulekt, whom he suspected of treachery, 
had been a prisoner at the fort for ten days, and would 
be detained there until the colonel s arrival. About one 
hundred Nez Perees, and several chiefs, were at Waiilatpu 
awaiting his arrival. They desired to have a talk with 
the proper authorities, and have a head chief appointed in 
place of Ellis, who, with sixty of his people, had died of 
the measles while on a buffalo hunt. The Cayuses were 
angry with the Nez Perees, and only the night previous 
had threatened one of them with death at the fort gate 
for fighting with the Bostons. 14 

This was the state of affairs when Colonel Lee reached 
Waiilatpu about the ninth of May. Here, as might have 
been foreseen, the men differed in their choice of a leader, 
and Lee, who had accepted his promotion over Waters 
conditionally, hastened to return his commission, 15 and 
that of his adjutant, C. W. Cooke. "I find," said he, "the 
regiment greatly improved under command of Lieutenant- 

" Oregon Archives, MS. 910. 
* Oregon Archives, MS. 1021. 

15 You are aware of the manner in which I accepted the appointment, and will 
not be surprised to see the commission returned : Oregon Archives, MS. 998, 


Colonel Waters. I have great confidence in him, and 
doubt not the troops will find him competent to the task 
before him. To prevent any discord or rupture in the 
regiment, at the request of the officers and men, I have 
consented to act as lieutenant- colonel during the approach 
ing campaign." Waters had already been sworn in, as 
appears from his letter of the fifteenth of May to the 
adjutant-general, in which he says, that "on Colonel Lee s 
arrival at this post he delivered up his command to me. 
* * Colonel Lee, at the request of almost every man 
in the regiment, has consented to act as lieutenant-colonel. 
The prospects are now fair before us, and I trust we will 
soon be on our way to the valley. I intend to start in 
pursuit of our enemies in a few days, and doubt not that 
we will be able to accomplish our end." 

Very soon after his return from Waiilatpu in March, 
Palmer had resigned the superintendency of Indian affairs, 
as being, jointly with his other duties, too burdensome; 
and Governor Abernethy when he made Lee colonel, per 
suaded him to act also os Indian superintendent, a duty 
for which he was well prepared by acquaintance with its 
requirements, having assisted both Dr. White and the 
governor in controlling the interior tribes. The governor s 
instructions to Lee in this capacity ran as follows: 

SIB : I would refer you to my instructions to the commissioners 
and superintendent of Indian affairs under date of third February 
last. The adjutant-general will furnish you with copies of instruc 
tions sent to Colonel Gilliam. In addition, I would remark should 
the murderers be scattered, and you think it unadvisable to follow 
them, in making a treaty with the tribes keep in view the safety of 
the immigrants and the people of this valley. The only way in 
which this can be done wilt be by binding the chiefs to protect 
them, giving them to understand that if Americans are molested in 
person or property, that we shall hold them responsible. Impress 
on their minds the fact that the murderers are few, and their 16 people 
many. You will get all the information you can respecting the 

10 Our people appears to be meant. 


murderers, where located, and their probable intentions. I think 
Joe Lewis and others have gone to the Mormons. A few men, well 
selected, might follow them, and by sending on one or two men 
into the city accompanied by some of the Fort Hall people, they 
might be arrested. I leave this, however, to your own judgment. 
Hoping that you may be successful in bringing thte war to a 
close, I remain, your obedient servant, 

Governor of Oregon Territory. 
Colonel H. A. G. Lee, 

First Regiment Oregon Riflemen. 

Lee learned from Maxon at The Dalles that the Yakima 
chiefs had paid the major a visit to express their friendly 
feelings. They said, "We do not want to fight the Ameri 
cans, nor the French; neither do the Spokanes, a neigh 
boring tribe to us. Last fall the Cayuses told us they were^ 
about to kill the whites at Dr. Whitman s. We told them\ 
that was wrong, which made them mad at us; and when 
they killed them they came to us and wished us to fight 
the whites, which we refused. We love the whites ; but they 
say, if you do not help us to fight the whites when we have I 
killed them we will come and kill you. This made us cry,/ 
but we told them we would not fight, but if they desired 
to kill us they might. We should feel happy to know 
that we die innocently." To these friendly professions 
Maxon replied with the assurance of the American pur 
pose to make war only on the murderers and those who 
harbored them. "We that fight," said he, "do not care 
how many bad people we have to fight. The Americans 
and Hudson s bay people are the same as one, and you 
will get no more ammunition until the war is at a close." 

The news of a change in the superintendency having 
reached Fort Waters and the Indians in advance of the 
reinforcement, was the occasion of the presence at Waii- 
latpu of a large body of Nez Perces. So impatient were 
they that an express was sent to meet Lee at John Day 
river with a request for a council, in response to which he 
hastened forward, arriving at the fort in advance of the 


new companies. Richard was appointed high chief on 
account of his superior attainments and good character; 
and Meaway, a very peaceable man, as war chief. These 
appointments were not objected to at the time, only quietly 
acquiesced in; but later Richard was assassinated, as it 
was thought, by a political enemy, and another high chief 

The affairs of the Nez Perces being settled, a council 
was held with the Walla Wallas and the Cayuses who 
had returned to the Umatilla. They, seeing that compa 
nies of armed Americans continued to come from the 
Wallainet, and being informed of the expected arrival 
of the United States mounted rifle regiment, on its way 
as it was supposed, from Fort Leavenworth, were humble 
accordingly. "The friendship of the Indians," wrote Col 
onel Waters, "increases with our numbers." Even Peu- 
peu-mox-mox, who had deeply resented the act of the 
legislature withholding ammunition from the Indians 
without distinction of tribe or individual, and who had 
threatened to join the murderers in retaliation, confessed 
his shame at having done so. 

"I told him, and all that were present," wrote Lee, "that 
\ve were bound to hold this country until the murderers 
were punished, the stolen property returned, and that 
which had been destroyed paid for; and then asked them 
what they were going to do; whether they would try to 
settle the matter and let us go home about our business, 
and leave them to theirs, or would they hold off as they 
had done, and leave us here to hold the country with our 

It was certainly not an easy question to answer. The 
conditions were as hard as they were unavoidable, for if 
they complied with the demands of the Americans they 
should have to fight among themselves, and if they refused 
they would be compelled to fight the Americans or leave 
their country. Even in the matter of property, they found 
they were likely to be impoverished by an attempt to pay 


the Cay use v debt. "I showed them," says Lee, "the bill of 
articles taken at this place, and those taken from immi 
grants along the road, as also at Barlow s gate, and told 
them we would forget nothing." Nothing more definite 
resulted from the council than professions of a desire for 
peace and friendship. 

Meanwhile, preparations were making at the fort for a 
pursuit of the murderers, who were believed to have taken 
refuge in the Nez Peree country; and on the seventeenth 
of May over four hundred men set out upon the march to 
the Clearwater. They encamped that night on the Coppei, 
and on the following morning Lee was detached with 
Captain Thompson and one hundred and twenty-one men 
to proceed to Red Wolf s camp at Snake river crossing to 
be ready to intercept the flight of the fugitives to the 
mountains, while the main force would march to the river 
at the mouth of the Palouse, and crossing there, prevent 
them from escaping down to the Columbia. 

Several Palouse chiefs had offered their services in fer 
rying the army across, but were nowhere to be found when 
the troops arrived, Major Magone with four men being 
compelled to cross Snake river on a raft to search for the 
means of transporting men and baggage to the north side 
of that then turbulent stream. A day was spent in find 
ing the Indians, and a day and a half more in effecting a 
crossing, swimming the horses and ferrying the troops. 
At noon on the twenty-first they were once more under 
way, being piloted by an Indian who promised to bring 
them to the camp of Tiloukaikt. 

On the following day a messenger arrived from the 
Chernekane mission, bringing a letter from Mr. Eells, to 
whom Colonel Waters had written to inquire as to the 
disposition of the Spokane tribe. According to the infor 
mation thus gained they were not altogether in harmony, 
although they did not pretend to excuse the murderers. 
Forty-three of the tribe accompanied the courier, who 
pointed out to Waters where Tiloukaikt s cattle were 



grazing, and offered to bring them in. With the latter 
came two Nez Perces, thought to be spies, who informed 
him that Tiloukaikt had fled to the mountains, but that 
the greater portion of his stock was being herded by a few 
Indians near Snake river, and could easily be captured. 
Major Magone was directed to bring it in, and to capture 
any Indian who behaved suspiciously. 

Probably there was never an Indian war in which, 
under so great provocation, the men behaved with more 
humanity towards the enemy than in the war of the early 
settlers of Oregon with the Cay uses. Now and then, how 
ever, some impetuous or revengeful volunteer, or officer 
desiring to distinguish himself, construed his orders to suit 
his sentiment on the occasion, and this seemed to have 
occurred on Major Magone s errand after Tiloukaikt s 
stock, for the flight of a frightened savage, running away 
from his natural enemy, the white man, caused a squad of 
troopers to pursue him to kill, rather than to capture. 
According to Major Magone s report, Baptiste Dorion, 
himself a half-Indian, son of the Madam Dorion of Irving s 
Astoria, set off at full speed without orders, followed by 
several others, and the fleeing Indian was killed before 
the major, owing to his having a poor horse, could call a 
halt. The fugitive had at last taken refuge in a canoe 
when he was discovered and shot, as was also another 
Indian. That the act was considered unjustifiable, is 
proven by the notice taken of the incident at the time. 

Magone found none of Tiloukaikt s people, but only a 
few Columbia river Indians, under Beardy, who directed 
him to the camp of Richard, high chief of the Nez Perces. 
Both Beardy and Richard assured him that Tiloukaikt 
was far out of the country towards Fort Hall. 

Richard, at the same time, informed the major that an 
express had gone from Lee at Lapwai to Colonel Waters, 
carried by two white men only, 17 a piece of news which 

17 The bearers of this express through an Indian country where the murderers 
were still supposed to be lurking were C. W. Cooke and David Guthrie. 


caused him to hasten his return to the main command, 
with such of Tiloukaikt s stock as could be gathered up 
without loss of time, and much to the dissatisfaction of 
his men, who were out of all patience with Indians who 
professed friendship, yet who constantly shielded the mur 
derers, as even the Nez Perces were doing by allowing 
them to escape through their country. "I would have 
given more general satisfaction to the men by ordering 
them to wipe from the face of existence those professed 
friendly Indians, without distinction or mercy," he said in 
his report, and hinted that only obedience to orders re 
strained him as well as them. 

The dispatch from Lee stated that he had been met at 
Red \yolfs crossing with the assurance that the guilty 
Cayuses had fled, leaving behind all their property, some 
of which was about Lapwai; that he had gone there to 
collect it on the twenty-first, and had remained several 
days, during which he had talked with the Nez Perces, ex 
plaining that the invasion of their country by armed men 
was solely with the object of arresting the Cayuses : but that 
since they were not to be found he should take possession 
of their property. If the Nez Perces were true friends 
they would aid, instead of concealing anything from him 
which would forward the ends of justice. To this they 
assented, and agreed to assist in driving to Waiilatpu 18 
the Cayuse stock, which amounted to one hundred and 
eighteen horses and forty head of neat cattle. Lee desired 
further orders, and was directed to return at once to the 

18 There seems to have been a treaty with the Xez Perces drawn up at the time of 
Palmer s visit to Waiilatpu in March, which promised peace and friendship towards 
the Americans ; to refrain from aiding the Cayuses, or from giving them refuge in 
their territory ; to aid the Americans, as far as they could without bloodshed, in 
punishing the guilty ; and to respect the persons and property of such white men as 
the superintendent should send to reside among them. 

On the part of the commissioners, it was agreed to permit no white men to settle 
upon the Nez Perc6 lands, except such as just named, but the superintendent was to 
hear their complaints, and protect them. The right to pass through each other s 
country was to be maintained, and finally, the Americans and Nez Perces were to be 
friends and brothers. 

This treaty is not mentioned in the report of the proceedings at Waiilatpu, though 
the unsigned draft of it is among the papers of the provisional government. 


main command, which he proceeded to do, crossing Snake 
river in boats made of the skin lodges of the Cayuses, 
abandoned in their flight, and arriving at camp about the 

Before leaving Lapwai, Lee s command offered a reward 
of several hundred dollars for the apprehension of the 
murderers, or any two of the principal men; or half of the 
whole for any one of them, and one-quarter of the sum for 
the capture and delivery of certain less responsible of the 
murderers; but this offer produced no effect, although the 
Nez Perces appeared to be in earnest in promising their 
best efforts to bring the criminals to justice. This docu 
ment, which is preserved in the Oregon archives, is inter 
esting as illustrating the poverty and patriotism of the 

CLEAR-WATER CAMP, 23d May, 1848. 

We, the undersignejl, promise to pay to the Nez Percys or other 
Indians, or their agent, the articles, sums, and amounts annexed to 
our names, respectively, for the capture and delivery to the authori 
ties of Oregon territory, any two of the following named Indians, 
viz., Teloukikt, Tamsucy, Tamahas, Joe Lewis, or Edward Telou- 
kikt ; or half the amount for any one of them. We also promise 
to pay one-fourth of the amount as specified above for the capture 
and delivery of any one of the following, viz., Llou-Llou, Pips, 
Frank Escaloom, Quiamashouskin, Estools, Showshow, Pahosh, 
Cupup-Cupup, or any other engaged in the massacre. The same to 
be paid whenever the service is rendered, and the fact that it has 
been rendered established : Burrel Davis, two blankets; Edwin F. 
Stone, two blankets, four shirts; P. F. Thompson, fifty dollars in 
goods; Harrison C. Johnson, two blankets; A. K. Fox, one blanket; 
James Etchel, one blanket; D. B. Matheny, one blanket, one shirt; 
Jeptha Garrison, two shirts; Wm. A. Culberson, two blankets; Jesse 
Cadwaleder, two blankets; Josiah Nelson, one blanket, one shirt; 
Martin F. Brown, two blankets; Isaac Walgamot, one blanket; 
John Eldridge, one blanket; A. S. Wilton, one blanket; J. W. 
Downer, one blanket, two shirts; Jacob Grazer, one blanket; Thos. 
J. Jackson, two blankets, two shirts; Clark Rogers, one blanket; 
John Scales, one blanket; Hiram Carnahan, two shirts; John Co- 
penhaver, one blanket, two shirts; Isaiah C. Matheny, one blanket, 
one shirt; Benjamin Taylor, one shirt; M. B. Riggs, one blanket, 
two shirts; E. C. Dice, five shirts; S. E. Elkins, one blanket; J. W. 


Burch, two blankets, five shirts; M. A. Ford, four shirts; J. Butler, 
four shirts; John Orchard, four blankets; C. W. Cooke, twelve 
shirts; J. J. Tomerson, one blanket, one shirt; John Doran, two 
blankets; William Rogers, one blanket, one shirt; D. D. Dusking, 
two blankets, two shirts; F. T. McLentick, five shirks; Wm. Mc- 
Kee, one blanket; John McCord, one blanket; J. L. Snook, two 
blankets; J. Scudder, one blanket, one shirt; R. Mendenhall, one 
blanket, one shirt; John Carlin, one blanket; Wm. Olds, one blanket, 
one shirt; Philip Peters, one blanket, one shirt; Laurence Hall, 
fifty dollars in goods; A. M. Poe, five dollars in goods; Jas. R. 
Bean, five dollars in goods; Jackson Reynolds, five dollars in goods; 
Jason Peters, five dollars in goods; Franklin Martin, one blanket; 
Robt. Loughlin, one blanket; Geo. Frazier, four shirts; James M. 
Owen, one blanket, one shirt; John Menoia, two shirts; Josiah 
Lowrey, two shirts; J. J. Louk, two shirts; G. W. Pibern, two 
shirts; R. Christinan, two shirts; Stephen King, one blanket, twq 
shirts; John McLosky, one blanket, one shirt; Aaron Cone, two shirts; 
Robert Harman, two shirts; Wm. Hailey, one blanket, two shirts; 
Jas. O. Henderson, one blanket; Fred. Ketchum, two shirts; Joel 
Welch, four shirts; J. G. Fuller, two shirts; J. C. Robinson, two 
blankets; F. R. Hill, one blanket; Fred. Paul, wheat, five bushels; 
Peter A. Wice, one shirt; Charles Bolds, one blanket; Jas. E. Alsop, 
one blanket, one shirt; Daniel P. Barnes, one blanket, one shirt; 
Henry Coleman, one blanket; Wm. W. Porter, one blanket, one 
shirt; A. M. Peak, one blanket; W. Holman, one blanket, one shirt; 
I. N. Gilbert, two dollars; Fales Howard, one shirt; O. S. Thomas, 
one shirt; John Monroe, two shirts. Total, one hundred and twenty- 
five dollars in goods and wheat; blankets, sixty-seven; shirts, one 
hundred and four. 

The first rough draft of this agreement reads, "We, the under 
signed, pledge ourselves in faith and honor to pay to the Nez Perces or 
any other Indians who will deliver, at Oregon City, Tiloukaikt and 

Tamsuckie, blankets, shirts, to be placed in the hands of the 

superintendent of Indian affairs, for the prompt payment of the 
sums affixed to our names we consider this a written obligation." 
On the back of the same paper, in pencil, is the result of a vote to 
sell the property taken from the Cay uses : Yeas Hall, Owens, 
Maxon, Martin, Pugh, Shaw, Nesmith, Burnett, Waters. Nays 
Thompson, and Lee. The vote on being reconsidered stood, not to 
sell: Nesmith, Hall, Thompson, Burnett, Martin, Pugh. To sell: 
Maxon. It is easy to see Lee s influence in the matter. It almost 
always prevailed: See Oregon Archives, MS., 522. 

In J. Henri Brown s Political History of Oregon a valuable 
contribution to the historical literature of the state, he is led, no 
doubt, by the failing memory of the men of 47, into the error of 
plufing this subscription of the twenty-third of May, at Oregon 


City, whereas it was gotten up in the regiment when it was on the 
Clearwater, as an inducement to the Nez Percys to pursue the 
Cayuses, which they failed to do. 

It was by this time evident that the campaign would 
have to be brought to a close, even without the capture of 
the murderers. Summer was close at hand when the 
harvest in the Wallamet valley must be gathered. In the 
summer, too, the Cayuses would be able to subsist them 
selves in the mountains, scattering to every point of the 
compass, where a thousand troops could not overtake 
them. Yet the campaign had not been without results. 
As long as only a few men remained cooped up at Fort 
Waters, Tiloukaikt made bold to move about with his 
herds within a few hours ride, but the coming of the last 
four hundred assured him that the Americans were going 
to carry out their intentions and drove him, a fugitive, 
and poor, far away from home. 

The effect upon the other tribes was also salutary. The 
Nez Perces were confirmed in their friendl} 7 disposition. 
The Palouses, although treacherous as ever, found it to 
their interest to make overtures of good will; and the chief 
of the Walla Wallas so far forgot his grievances as to take 
(upon himself to hang one of the murderers whom he 
found on the Yakima, at a fishing station ; and to send 
word to McBean that he was in pursuit of Thomas, who 
murdered the miller at Dr. Whitman s. Although these 
concessions were signs of fear rather than of love, they 
were accepted by the commander-in-chief. and in the field, 
with satisfaction. 

Having become convinced that to remain longer in the 
country would result in no further good, and was, in fact, 
becoming daily less practicable through the poverty of the 
commissary department, Colonel Waters, after consulting 
with his officers, decided to return to Waiilatpu. Captains 
Thompson and Nesmith were directed to proceed to Lapwai 
for the purpose of removing the family and property of 
the Indian agent, Craig, who felt unsafe while the mur- 


derers were at large. These arrived at camp on the 
twenty-ninth of May, and at Fort Waters on the third of 

The missionaries, Walker and Eells, still remained at 
Fort Colville whither they had gone when fighting began 
in the Cayuse country, and it was the general verdict of 
the army that they ought to be conducted out of it before 
the troops disbanded; but it was not thought quite safe to 
further weaken the garrison by sending two companies to 
Colville. Major Magone offered to go with fifty men should 
that number come forward for this service, or with any 
number down to ten men. On the call for volunteers, over 
one hundred offered, but only fifty-five were accepted. 
With this force the Messrs. Walker and Eells, with their 
wives and children, and a Miss Bewley, sister of the cap 
tive of that name, were taken safely to The Dalles, to 
which post the army was already on the march, 19 having 
left Waiilatpu on the eighth of June. On reaching that 
place Colonel Waters found a letter from the governor, 
dated the fifteenth of June, in which he was directed to 
hold a council with the superintendent of Indian affairs, 
and come to a decision in regard to remaining in the 
upper country, and recommending that one company of 
eighty-five men, rank and file, should be left to garrison 
Forts Waters and Lee until the arrival of the expected 
United States regiment of mounted riflemen seventy at 
Waiilatpu, and fifteen at The Dalles. 

But this matter had already been arranged, and, as usual, 
by the sagacity of the lieutenent-colonel. On the return 
to Fort Waters a council of the officers had been held, to 
decide upon the question of holding the fort through the 
summer, or until the United States troops had arrived, or 

in That Major Magone was pleased to perform this gallant duty is evident from his 
report. He relates that several of the Spokanes shed tears on parting from their 

Joseph Magone was born in Ogdensburg, New York, February ilO, 1821 ; was a 
miller by occupation. He came to Oregon as captain of a company in 1847. After 
the Cayuse war, he went to the California mines and was fortunate ; was married in 
1850, his wife dying in 1859. He has written au account of his life for publication. 


the annual immigration had passed. Upon putting it to 
vote there were six negatives to five affirmatives. Lee 
then requested that a call should be made for volunteers, 
which was ordered, but later countermanded. " Knowing," 
says Lee, "that such a step (as abandoning the fort) would 
be yielding up the little advantage we had gained over 
the enemy, and believing it would be not only a violation 
of general orders, but a matter of disappointment to the 
people in the valley, I resolved to make one more effort, 
independent of the voice of the council. To make this 
effort successful, I found it necessary to pledge myself to 
some responsible men, that I would give them a written 
authority to colonize the country immediately, securing 
them as far as in my power against future treaty stipula 
tions prejudicial to their interests. This pledge was ac 
cordingly made in good faith to Captain Philip F. Thomp 
son of Yam hill, Mr. James Taylor of Clatsop, and their 
associates. A call was then made for fifty volunteers to 
remain until September fifteenth next, with a promise 
from Captain Thompson, that he would return by that 
time with families to settle the country." 

This offer proved successful, and more than the required 
number of volunteers remained under Captain Martin. 
Lee took care in reporting his acts to the governor, to en 
close an article for the Spectator, intended to help the 
colonization of the country, stating that there were then 
in the Cayuse country grist and sawmills, blacksmith 
anvils, bellows, and tools, iron, plows, harrows, hoes, a 
crop of wheat, pease, potatoes, and corn, with almost every 
convenience for forming a settlement; that the country 
was peculiarly adapted to wool-growing and cattle-raising, 
holding out greater inducements to farmers than the 
Wallamet valley, and that the beauty of the country and 
the climate was unexcelled. This estimate of the Walla 
Walla valley, then hardly credited by the settlers of 
western Oregon, has since been more than verified. 

But Lee desired the governor s approval, and assurance 


of the legality of the grant. To his inquiries Governor 
Abernethy replied that the organic law of Oregon did not 
limit settlement to any part of the territory, and although 
it might be impolitic to occupy the lands of friendly 
Indians, there could be no impropriety in occupying those 
of the murderers, provided the party taking possession 
were strong enough to hold it and maintain peace. He 
desired, in case this plan should be carried out, that the 
lands and improvements of the Presbyterian missions 
should be reserved. The governor, therefore, approved 
the scheme, 20 which, indeed, from a particular point of 
view was a military necessity. But it certainly conflicted 
with the statement several times iterated to the Cay uses 
and Nez Perces that it was individuals whom the govern 
ment sought to punish, and not the nation. It was true 
the conduct of the nation in sheltering its guilty members 
gave a color of right to the act; but such nice distinctions 
were not familiar to the savage mind. The very thing 
was about to happen which the Cayuses had killed Whit 
man to prevent, namely, the settlement of their lands by 
white people. The governor s sanction being obtained, a 
proclamation appeared in the Spectator of July thirteenth, 
under the title of " Forfeiture of the Cayuse Lands," with 
a eulogy intended to promote their settlement. 

When Lee was at The Dalles he gave notice to the 
Catholic missionaries engaged at that time in erecting 
buildings for a mission, that none should be established 
by any denomination until the presence of the United 
States troops in the country should make it safe and 
proper. They desisted, but Rev. Rosseau remained, and 
cultivated a farm, without teaching openly. The oblate 
father returned to the Yakima country, keeping very 
quiet; and the bishop of Walla Walla wandered about 
the country with the unsettled Cayuses. In this manner 
they held their ground. 

Fort Lee was left in charge of Lieutenant Alexander T. 

20 Oregon Archives, MS. 930, 939. 


Rodgers, one non-commissioned officer, and thirteen men. 21 
The remainder of the regiment with Colonel Waters was 
not detained to await Magone s arrival, but hurried across 
the mountains or down the river to their homes, many 
without waiting to be discharged at the appointed rendez 
vous on the Clackamas river. 

Colonel Waters, being in bad health, was unable to 
accompany the regiment across the mountains, and took 
the river route to Oregon City, which owing to adverse 
winds proved a tedious one, so that he was unable to meet 
the companies on the Clackamas. Lee had withdrawn 
from any connection with the army when the campaign 
closed at Fort Waters; and although he crossed the moun 
tains with the regiment, Captain Hall was in command. 
On arriving at the rendezvous Hall was compelled to 
grant furloughs subject to the order of the governor. 
"This step, * wrote Waters, "was perhaps objectionable, 
but I am disposed to believe the best that could have 
been taken under the circumstances." Palmer informed 
the governor, who was absent from Oregon City, that the 
men were "perfectly reckless" and "regardless of conse 
quences," on getting so near home. Always ready to 
perform their duty in the field, they cared little for the 
conventionalities of army life, and longing for a sight of 
beloved faces, risked their meager and doubtful pay to 
gratify this home hunger. 

On reaching Oregon City, Lee, who must always be 
regarded as one of the most conspicuous figures in the 
history of the war, declined his commission, and with it of 
course the pay, in the following letter: 

OREGON CITY, June 24, 1848. 
To Governor Abernethy : 

DEAR SIR : Having fulfilled my promise to Colonel Waters, and 
the officers and men of the regiment, in accompanying them through 

21 The report of Lieutenant Rodgers, August fourteenth, gives the strengch and 
condition of the force at Fort Lee as one lieutenant, one orderly sergeant, thirteen 
privates, seven horses, ten saddles, six bridles, eight rifles, four muskets, three shot 
guns, fifteen shot pouches, and powder horns. No fifes, drums, or colors. 


the late campaign, J consider myself released from any further mili 
tary connection with the regiment^ that connection having expired 
by limitation on our return to Fort Waters. Consequently, 1 there 
withdraw from the regiment. 

On the road from that place to Fort Wascopam, I met a commis 
sion filled out for myself as lieutenant-colonel. This doubtless grew 
out of a misunderstanding of the consent I gave to act as such for 
the time. When I resigned my commission as colonel, I believe I 
was only yielding to another what I knew he considered his rights, 
and my consent to fill an office under him was purely from a wish 
to preserve peace, friendship, and good feeling in the regiment until 
a last effort should be made to punish the enemy, and not to gratify 
any ambition to fill an office. In resigning the former office, there 
was no sacrifice, but on the contrary a high degree of pleasure. In 
submitting to the latter, though temporarily, I confess there was a 
sacrifice required. It was made, as long as necessary to the success 
of the campaign. With the necessity my obligations expired. 
With high sense of obligation and duty to the community, and 
a sense of gratefulness to your excellency, I beg leave to decline the 
proffered honor. You are aware that no election in the regiment to 
fill that office could be legal, while there was no vacancy, even if 
the appointing power had been vested in the regiment. So that all 
I did in that capacity was by mutual consent, and not legal au 

I remain, yours truly, H. A. G. LEE. 

The public mind was beginning to settle down to its 
ordinary composure, when a fresh excitement was spread 
through the settlements by the information furnished by 
Lieutenant Rodgers at The Dalles, that the Catholics at 
that place were inflaming the Indians, and that a large 
quantity of ammunition and arms were being taken into 
the Indian country by the Jesuit fathers. The amounts 
were so much larger than the Oregon army had at any 
time been able to command at one invoice that the alarm 
occasioned by it seems justifiable. 22 At all events the 
packages were seized by Lieutenant Rodgers, and sent to 
Oregon City to be taken charge of by the governor, while 
the superintendent of Indian affairs wrote to Rev. M. 

- There were thirty-six guns, one thousand and five hundred pounds of balls, 
three hundred pounds of buckshot, and one thousand and eighty pounds of powder. 
The whole Oregon army had been able to obtain no more than five hundred pounds 
of powder : Oregon American, August 16, 1848 ; Oregon Spectator, September G, 1848. 


Acolti for an explanation of the matter. Acolti replied^ 
that he did not object to the seizure if the governor 
thought it prudent, unless it was the intention to confis 
cate it; but he reminded the superintendent that there 
was no law prohibiting the transportation of arms through 
the Indian country, but only the distribution of them to 
) the Indians. His explanation of the incident was, that 
j the packages seized contained the annual supply of the 
\ four Jesuit missions of the Flatheads, Pend d Oreilles, 
\ Coeur d Alenes, and Okanagons. These people lived by 
\ the chase, and required ammunition. Indeed, the sub- 
I sistence of the priests themselves depended upon a proper 
[supply. Besides, a certain amount was required by the 
/white men and half-breeds about the missions; and a part 
/ of that seized was destined to the British possessions, 
/ where the Jesuits had an extensive mission. Dividing 
1 the whole amount among all these stations, and thou 
sands of Indians, Acolti held that the amount was not large 
enough to cause any alarm. 

"With respect to the advice you give me," wrote the priest to 
Lee, " that there is more excitement and bitter feeling against the 
Catholics as a body than ever has existed in Oregon before, I believe 
the fact. Yet, sir, I presume that you who hold authority, and who . 
have had an opportunity of knowing how things have been, and 
who are not .biased by prejudice I presume that you and all sen 
sible citizens know that it is not through any fault of the Catholics 
if this fact exists, that the Catholics have done nothing to cause 
excitement or bitter feeling against them, and that the fact is based 
only upon unfounded suspicions, growing out of unjust prejudices 
and a groveling jealousy. I thank you for your frankness, and I 
will not fail to profit by your advice whenever circumstances shall 
allow me; and I can assure you that I, as well as all the priests, will 
beware of doing nothing 23 that may be incentives to violence and 
disorder, or to evade or circumvent the laws of the land. I hope 
you will give me credit for the freedom of my expressions, and that, 
content with the purity of the intentions of the Catholic priests, you 
will no longer be surprised at my singular proceedings, but labor 

23 This lapse from Grammat, as well a/s the use of the word "credit " below where 
" pardon " was meant, is to be charged to the translator. Acolti was an Italian. He 
came to Oregon by sea in 1844. He was transferred to California in 1855, and died 
at San Francisco in 1878, distinguished for learning and piety. 


cwith all benevolent citizens to anticipate the unfortunate effects of 
the excitement which is so unjustly raised against the Catholics, is 
the confidence with which I have the honor to remain, sir, 
Your obedient servant, 


Governor Abernethy endeavored to quiet the excitement, 
and in a letter to R. W. Ford, who had published an article 
in the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, edited by 
J. S. Griffin of Tualatin plains, said: 

I am well acquainted with the Indian character, and know their 
disposition to carry false reports from one to another, sometimes 
merely to see what effect a report unfavorable to the person they 
are speaking to will have. I am, therefore, satisfied that the In 
dians, in making the statement they did to Mr. Rodgers, did it to 
mislead him. For I cannot believe that the priests would be so 
remiss as to say anything of the kind to the Indians while there is 
so much excitement in the community. 

This was, it is true, a rather weak defense, but was better 
than the inflammatory articles that certain anti-Romanists 
were eager to place before the public, the influence of 
which remains to this day in Oregon, many respectable 
persons of the pioneers, and their children, firmly believ 
ing that the ammunition which was intercepted, and sent 
to Oregon City when Fort Lee was abandoned, to lie for 
months in the governor s storehouse, was intended by the 
Catholics to exterminate the Protestants in Oregon. No 
proof of any such intention was ever apparent. 

In December, a petition was presented to the legislature 
to expel Catholics from the country, which was rejected. 
They were not permitted to return to the Umatilla, but 
retained possession of all their other missions. In Febru 
ary, 1849, the legislative assembly having inquired of the 
governor what disposition had been made of the arms and 
ammunition of the priests, he replied that he had felt 
himself justified in retaining possession of them until 
then ; but application had been made to him to return the 
property to Vancouver to be placed to the credit of the 
Catholic missions on the company s books, accompanied 


by an assurance that no powder should be sent to the 
upper country without the sanction of the Oregon govern 
ment, and that he had done so. 

The proclamation which discharged the first regiment 
of Oregon riflemen was dated July 5, 1848, the only por 
tion excepted being the men left at Forts Waters and Lee. 
On the twelfth, the commissary-general wrote to the 
governor that the men thus detailed were in need of 
clothing and provisions; that having no funds on hand 
in his department to supply them, he had called on the 
loan commissioners for an amount barely sufficient to 
subsist these men until October first, when their term 
would expire; but that the commissioners had replied 
that they had no funds, and believed it impossible to 
raise any; and as the decision of the board had been that 
they were not authorized to execute bonds for debts he 
might contract, it was no longer in his power to supply 
the troops. 24 

Meanwhile, by hook or by crook, the volunteers in the 
Indian country got on very well. The mill had been re 
paired, and some large caches of grain discovered. They 
celebrated the fourth of July in due form with a feast and 
patriotic toasts drunk in water, among which was: "The 
American flag, the only thing American that will bear 
stripes," said to have been proposed by a "young Miss 
Wickliffe," 25 of Oregon City. 

24 Palmer asked the commissioners for one thousand dollars for subsistence and 
six hundred and eighty-eight dollars for clothing : Oregon Archives, MS. 1010. 

25 The following letter is interesting as a picture of the times in the interior at this 
date. It is written July fifth to Lee by C. W. Cooke: "As the Messrs. Priests will 
start down tomorrow, altho I have nothing important to comrmmicate, I cannot 
forego an opportunity of informing you of some things that have transpired in this 
delightful portion of God s heritage, vulgarly known as middle Oregon. We saw not 
an Indian, and heard no news from the time of your departure up to the tAventy- 
eighth proximo, when Moolpool and Tintinmitzie came from the Grand Round and 
informed us that the Kayuses were all there, and the murderers high up on Burnt 
riyer. The most of the Kayuses will be back here in a few weeks. Richard and Red 
Wolf took supper with us three nights gone, and told us that the Snakes have killed 
five Nez Percys, and that they are making preparations to go immediately against the 
Snakes. It is Indian news, and you know the reliability of the information. Being 
myself very skeptical, and knowing Mr. McBean s superior facilities for detecting 


The volunteers performed the duty of holding the 
Cayuse country, and patroling the immigrant road to the 
satisfaction of the Oregon government and the immigra 
tion. Since the opening of the road, never had the Indians 
behaved so well. The murderers, reduced to poverty, and 
without ammunition, kept out of the way of hoth volun 
teers and immigrants. Thus the Cayuse war came to an 
end, it might be said, for want of powder. The murderers 
had not been hung, but they had been severely punished, 
and the Cayuse nation, as such, had lost its prestige 

As might have been expected, some of the more restless 
tribes in western Oregon were affected by the war rumors, 
and early showed signs of insurrection. These were the 
Molallas and Klamaths, who ranged about the head of the 
Wallamet valley, and over into the Klamath basin. Be 
lieving that the warriors among the white men had all 
gone to give battle to the Cayuses, these Indians made 
several incursions into the settlements, committing acts 

Indian falsehood and obtaining truth, I came here ( to Walla Walla fort) today to see 
him, and I find that he places the utmost confidence in the report. He is also of 
opinion that there is a prospect of serious difficulty between Young Chief and Yellow 
Serpent, owing to some recent misunderstanding. I give it to you as I hear it. I am 
not responsible for its authenticity. No news from the United States. I m becoming 
impatient. I am looking for the troops every day. We did not forget that yesterday 
was the fourth of July. Indeed, we paid to it all the deference and honor of which 
in our circumstances we were capable, with guns, songs, hymns, and national an 
thems. Everything passed off quietly, and in genteel military order. I have sent 
Mr. Wait (editor Spectator) some scraps. See him for particulars. I am anxious to 
know what will be done by the United States government in relation to this country. 
I have no interest in the place at Fort Waters, and so many have taken claims already 
up here, that I deemed it not improper to at least secure that place for Perrin ( Whit 
man), provided it be lawful to take claims here now, and yourself nor the governor 
do not want it for a military post, or agency, and the missionaries do not claim it for 
the board on account of previous occupancy. Then, if you think it expedient to enter 
it for Perrin before it is taken by others, you will call for a beginning stake three- 
fourths of a mile southwest of the old buildings ; thence north one mile to a stake : 
thence east one mile to a stake ; thence south one mile to a stake ; thence west one 
mile to the beginning, including the improvements of the late Dr. Whitman. The 
corn is silking, and our wheat is ripe for harvest. The boys are cutting today. I 
think we will have between two hundred and three hundred bushels. I find some 
half dozen commissions among the waste papers in the loft and send them to you 
for disposition. My respects to the governor and family, and General Palmer and 
family, <fcc. Three of McBean s horses, branded " H. B.," have been taken to the 
valley. Tell the quartermasters to please see to it. Dr. Lydan, the poet, and all the 
boys, send you their compliments :" Oregon Archives, MS. 1009, 1026. In such friendly 
and unmilitary fashion did the whilom adjutant address his late superior. 


against peace and order, apparently to test the ability of 
the settlers to protect themselves. 

The most impudent of these raids were the rape of a 
young girl in Lane county, some cattle thefts in Benton 
county, and an attack on the house of Richard Miller in 
Champoeg(now Marion) county. It happened that one 
Knox, whose home was in Linn county, was carrying the 
first United States mail ever delivered in this part of 
Oregon, and saw a man running from Indians, to gain the 
shelter of Miller s house. He put spurs to his horse, and 
notified the settlers along his route as quickly as he could. 
These mounted and spread the alarm, until by morning a 
company of men and boys numbering one hundred and 
fifty were rendezvoused at Miller s place, from which the 
Indians had in the meantime retired with threats of mis 
chief. An organization of this force was at once effected, 
Daniel Waldo being elected colonel, and R. C. Geer, Allen 
Davy, Richard Miller, and Samuel Parker, captains. 

The Indian encampment was on the Abiqua creek where 
it comes down from the Cascades to the valley, and towards 
this the volunteers marched, the mounted men proceeding 
up the north side, and the foot soldiers up the south side. 26 
When the Indians discovered the horsemen, they began 
crossing to the south side and fell into an ambuscade of 
the footmen awaiting them. After a few shots had been 
exchanged, the Indians retreated up the creek, having two 
killed. As the day was nearly spent, those who had fam 
ilies to protect returned home, and the single men and 
boys encamped at a farmhouse to be ready for an early 
start next morning. Those who could do so rejoined them 
at daybreak, and they overtook the Indians, retreating on 

26 R. C. Geer wrote an account of this affair in the Salem, Oregon,, Statesman, which 
was copied into the San Jos6 Pioneer of September 1, 1877, from which the above is 
taken. He mentions the following names: William Parker, James Harpole, Wilburu 
King, James Brown, S. D. Maxon, L. A. Bird, Israel Shaw, Robert Shaw, King Hib- 
bard. William Brisbane, . Winchester, Port. Gilliam, William Howell, Thomas 
Howell, George Howell, William Hendricks, Len. Goff, Leander Davis, G. W. Hunt, 
James Williams, J. Warnock, J. W. Schrum, Thomas Schrum, Elias Cox, Cyrus Smith 
T. B. Allen, Henry Schrum, and Jacob Caplinger. 


the Klamath trail with their best marksmen apparently 
in the rear. One of the volunteers was hit in the breast 
by an arrow which failed to penetrate, but the balls of the 
frontier riflemen went home. The Indians were driven to 
bay at a pass of the stream where the cliffs came down 
precipitately on the south side, and the current would not 
permit them to cross. Here, fighting the best they could, 
seven warriors were slain, and two women wounded one 
of the warriors, however, being a woman armed. 

When the battle was over it was discovered that the 
actual marauders had eluded them, and those who had 
suffered were their families and camp guards. Ashamed 
of their easy victory, the volunteers built a large fire in a 
comfortable camping place, and left the wounded women 
to be found and cared for by their relatives. So sensitive 
were the participants in the "battle of the Abiqua," that 
it was seldom referred to, and never mentioned as among 
tha defensive measures of the colonists in 1848. Yet the 
punishment inflicted, and the knowledge imparted on and 
to the savages on the southeastern border, proved salutary, 
and put an end to raids from that quarter. 

On the west side of the valley the inhabitants had some 
trouble with the Calapooias and Tillamooks, who mur 
dered an old man, and stole cattle from the settlers. A 
collision occurred in March, in which two Indians were 
killed, and ten other marauding savages taken and "* 
whipped. This punishment had the effect to intimidate 
them, and secure order in that quarter. 

On the tenth of April, Superintendent Lee appointed 
Felix Scott sub-agent of Indian affairs, and notified him 
that it was advisable to raise a company for the defense of 
the southern frontier, and asking him to undertake the 
duty. This he did, enrolling a company of less than half 
the regulation number. 27 He was commissioned captain 
of the independent rifle rangers May 11, 1848, and pro- 

27 No roll of Scott s company exists. It was probably never more than twenty-five 


ceeded up the valley, finding the settlers much disturbed 
by the conduct of the Indians, and rumors of attacks upon 
travelers. 28 Scott found but few of the predatory natives 
in the Wallamet, they having retired through the moun 
tain passes to places of safety. On the seventh of July he 
was ordered to proceed to southeastern Oregon to escort 
the immigrants by the southern route, a duty which he 
performed with only nineteen men, and without serious 
interference by the natives. 29 

C "* John Saxtou, who wrote a little book about Oregon, was coming from California 
with a band of one hundred horses in April. His party consisted of six men, and 
the Klamath and Rogue river Indians hanging upon their trail caused the loss of 
sixty-five of their animals : Oregon Spectator, May 4, 1848. 

20 Scott was a Virginian by birth, and had been lieutenant-governor of Missouri. 
In 1845 he crossed the plains to California, coming to Oregon in the spring of 1846, 
and settling in Yamhill county. In 184$ he went to the gold fields of California, and 
the following year removed to Lane county in this state, where he was largely inter 
ested in stock-raising and lumbering. In 1858 he went by sea to New York, thence to 
Kentucky, and was on his way home with a herd of blooded horses, when he was 
killed by the Pit river Indians near Goose lake, and his horses taken. 



THE events narrated in the foregoing chapters, of so \ 
much importance to the Oregon colony, had transpired \ 
without the knowledge of the outside world. The letter of 1 
Mr. Douglas to S. N. Castle of Honolulu, was not received / 
until February, and was productive of no results. The 
dispatches for California, which failed as has been nar 
rated, to get over the mountains, were put on board the 
brig Henry, which left the Columbia river about the 
middle of March, arriving at San Francisco April twelfth, 
leaving immediately for Mazatlan with government stores 
for the United States troops in Mexico. 

Such was the isolation of Oregon at this time that it 
was not known to its legislature or governor that the 
United States had taken possession of California, and the 
communication first sent was addressed to the commodore 
of the Pacific squadron, as follows: 

OREGON CITY, December 28, 1847. 
To W. Bradford j&hubrick, Commander Pacific Squadron : 

SIR : The present state of affairs in Oregon induces me to address 
you on the subject. I inclose herewith two papers which will inform 



you of our situation, and the necessity there is of sending aid, if in 
your power, as soon as possible. A sloop-of-war anchored in the 
Columbia river at Vancouver, or near the mouth of the Willamette 
river, would exert a powerful influence in our behalf. The Indians 
would be led to believe that our chief, of whom they have often 
heard, was ready to examine into and punish any wrongs they 
might inflict on American citizens. A supply of ammunition could 
be furnished to repel any attacks they might make on us, and would 
also let the citizens of the United States dwelling in this distant 
land know they w r ere not neglected. A vessel drawing sixteen feet 
of water can enter our harbor in safety ; one drawing fifteen feet 
can, I believe, get up the Columbia at any season of the year with 
proper caution. I am aware that the present season is not the 
most favorable for entering our river and ascending it, still mer 
chantmen enter and depart at all seasons of the year. 

Believing that you will do all you can to render us assistance, 
I have the honor to remain, yours truly, 

Governor of Oregon. 

By the Henry, the governor wrote again the following: 

. OREGON CITY, March 11, 1848. 
Commander W. Bradford Shubrick : 

SIR : I have written you under date of December twenty-eighth 
and January twenty-fifth last, both of which failed to reach yon. 
I herewith send letters and the Spectator, from which you can see 
our present situation. Captain Kilburn, of the brig Henry, can 
inform you on any subject you may wish to inquire of him. I 
would again call your attention to the necessity of sending us one 
or more vessels of war as soon as possible. Indians are restrained 
by fear; they have a dread of cannon and man-of-war ships. I have 
told them, a ship of war would be here in the spring. I am waiting 
with anxiety to hear from the commissioners sent up to treat with 
the Indians. Should we succeed in settling this affair, which is 
uncertain, the presence of one of our ships at this juncture would 
let them know that the Americans have it in their power to punish 
them, and would probably deter them from further aggressions. I 
have conversed with the pilot at the mouth of the Columbia. He 
says that he can bring in a vessel drawing twenty-two feet of water. 
Under his care any sloop-of-war under your command can enter our 
river. Captain Kilburn says, if needed, he will come up in any 
vessel sent by you. 


Governor of Oregon. 


Notwithstanding all this writing and effort, the United 
States transport Anita, commanded by acting Captain 
Selirn C. Wood worth, arrived in the Columbia March six 
teenth, without being at all aware of the condition of 
affairs in Oregon. Instead of bringing the needed assist 
ance, the Anita s errand was to raise men for the war with 
Mexico, as the following correspondence will show: 

MONTEREY, California, January 28, 1848. J 

To Ills Excellency, George Abernethy, Governor of Oregon : 

SIR : From intelligence received here yesterday from Commo 
dore Shubrick, commanding the United States naval forces off 
Mazatlan, a copy of his communication is enclosed herewith, I 
deem it of the utmost importance to raise a corps of one thousand 
men to send to Lower California and Mazatlan as early as practica 
ble. I shall therefore dispatch an officer, Major Hardie of the army, 
to confer with your excellency, and if possible to raise in Oregon an 
infantry battalion of four companies, to be mustered into the ser 
vice of the United States to serve during the war, unless sooner dis 
charged ; or, if it be impracticable to engage them for that period, 
then to engage them for twelve months from the time of being 
mustered into service, unless sooner discharged. The battalion will 
consist of field and staff one major, one adjutant, a lieutenant 
of one of the companies, but not in addition. Non-commissioned 
staff one sergeant-major, one quarteVmaster-sergeant. Four com 
panies (staff), of which to consist of captain, one first lieuten 
ant, two second lieutenants, four sergeants, four corporals, two 
musicians, and one hundred privates. Should the number of pri 
vates, on being mustered, not fall below sixty-four effective men in 
a company, it will be received. In the United States the volunteer 
officers are appointed and commissioned in accordance with the 
laws of the state from which they are taken. The officers from 
Oregon will therefore, of course, be appointed pursuant to the laws 
of Oregon, if there are any on that subject ; if not, in such mannei 
as your excellency may direct, in which case I would respectfully 
suggest that the company officers be elected by their respective 
companies, and that the major be appointed by yourself; and I 
would further respectfully suggest the extreme importance to the 
public service, that the officers be judiciously selected. The place 
of rendezvous for the several companies, as fast as they shall bo 
organized, is necessarily left to yourself and Major Hardie. 
I do not know how this call for volunteers will be met in Oregon, 
but I flatter myself with the assurance that it will receive the 


cordial support of your excellency, and I am certain will show that 
the citizens of Oregon have lost no patriotism, by crossing the 
mountains, and that they will be equally prompt in coming to their 
country s standard as their brethren in the United States. 
Yours respectfully, 

Colonel First Dragoons, Governor of California. 

To this Governor Abernethy replied : 

To His Excellency, R. B. Mason, Governor of California : 

SIR : I received your letter of the twenty-eighth of January last, 
together with a copy of Commodore Shubrick s letter of sixth of 
December last, and in reply would beg leave to state that in the 
existing state of affairs in this territory, I do not think it would be 
prudent on my part to send any men out of the territory. Before 
this reaches you, my letters of December twenty-eighth, January 
twenty-sixth, and March eleventh, together with copies of the Specta 
tor, will have reached you, from which you will have learned our situ 
ation, and the need there is of our being assisted by the government 
of the United States. I have in these letters begged that a sloop-of- 
war might be sent to our aid. I should have called for men, as we 
need a few disciplined troops to take the lead, but concluded you 
could not spare them. We need very much a few field pieces, balls, 
and powder; a quantity of rifle powder and lead; and, in fact, 
everything that is really needed to carry on a war. May I be per 
mitted to ask your aid in furnishing us with these necessarj^ articles ? 
T send you with this a Spectator of March twenty-fifth, also an 
extra issued this day, and a copy of my proclamation calling for 
three hundred men in addition to those already in the field; and it 
is not at all improbable that I may have to call a large number of 
men into the field to protect the Willamette valley. I am glad that 
we have been visited by Major Hardie, as he can on his return in 
form you more fully of our situation than I can by letter. I regret 
that circumstances are such that this gentleman returns without the 
aid you expected to receive from Oregon, and sincerely trust that 
you will not lay it to our want of patriotism, for 1 assure you that 
nothing would have afforded me more pleasure than to have met 
the call of your excellency, and I have not a doubt but that it would 
have been cheerfully responded to by our citizens. 
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant, 

Governor of Oregon. 


In evidence of the interest taken by the Hudson s Bay 
Company in the affairs of the Oregon government, the 
following letter of Ogden is interesting. It refers, prob 
ably, to a letter to President Polk : 

VANCOUVER, March 21, 1848. 
Mr. George Abernethy : 

MY DEAR SIR : I duly received your note, with the letter en 
closed, which has been duly forwarded to the states, and trust it 
will reach its destination in safety. Our express, three boats, thirty 
men, three gentlemen, and our bishop, all well armed, left yesterday 
afternoon, and the precaution has been taken to have thirty horses 
in case they cannot proceed with the boats, as the express must go 
on to its destination. Pray, what is the object of Woodworth s 
visit? For volunteers, in numbers, it cannot be! his ship being 
too small nor can the country afford, in its present unsettled state 
of affairs in the interior, and I fear, likely to be, in the upper part 
of the Willamette, if reports are to be relied upon, to spare any. I 
fear it will require all to protect our adopted country. Appearances 
have a gloomy aspect ; may we hope it will soon pass away, and 
that brighter days are in store for us. I have written to my friends 
on the east side, and forwarded those you sent. On the arrival of 
our boats at Walla Walla, a party will return to this place, and if 
Newell does not arrive from the interior, we shall then have no 
news from the army. Mr. McBean has a good opinion of the com 
missioners, and writes me they acted with judgment, but fears the 
general will commit some rash act. What does Campbell report in 
regard to the intentions of the American government in regard to 
Oregon? Do they intend to let it stand over until the Mexican 
affairs are finally settled? I hope not. It is now more than full 
time decisive measures should be adopted for the safety of one and 
all. You have certainly done your part well, and if the government 
would but liberally supply the sinews of war money the country 
can well be defended with her own resources. You ought to have 
forwarded a duplicate of all your dispatches by our express in July, 
and they would be in Washington ; if Meek does escape, they will 
not be there long before that. 1 

Yours truly, PETER SKEEN OGDEN. 

On learning of the death of Colonel Gilliam, Ogden pre 
pared an obituary notice for the Spectator, which he sent 

!This rather blind sentence was meant to say that Meek s dispatches would not, 
even if he escaped the perils of his journey, get to Washington long hefore the letters 
by the Hudson s Bay Company s express. He was, however, in the United States two 
months before. 


to the governor, intending doubtless to influence the people 
for what he believed to be for their good, as he was well 
informed of the dissensions in the army : 

VANCOUVER, April 1, 1848. 
Mr. George Abernethy : 

DEAR SIR : If, after perusal, you deem the enclosed worthy of 
insertion in the Oregon Spectator, it is at your service ; if not, send 
it back. I am not aware of the feelings of the good people of Ore. 
gon in regard to the late Colonel Gilliam. He was a stranger to me, 
and the outline of his character, which I have obtained from others, 
may, perhaps, tend to have good effect. 

I duly received your favor and thank you for your news, but on 
some tidings I leave you to form your own opinion as to their being 
good or bad. Many circumstances, and prudent ones, obliged the 
army to retreat, thus stop the war. But, in our estimation, bearing 
the cares, this cannot be called a retreat, or even a defeat. But un 
fortunately, the Indians will take a different view of it, and give it 
a different construction from ( temporary ) weakness of the army 
during the absence of so many men to The Dalles. Should an 
attack be made on the army I dread the result, but not if the officers 
and men were united ; they would then make a formidable resist 
ance. Captain McKay will give you every particular. His stay 
here was too short to obtain correct information, and full allowance 
must be made for his news ; but you know him well. He speaks in 
high terms of the bravery of the volunteers in action, but not so 
much so in regard to their discipline. I was glad to hear that he 
intends to return, and the sooner the better. In case he should 
change his mind, knowing his character so well, it would not at 
all surprise me. 

This day we have a report here in circulation of a war nearer our 
firesides. Surely one is more than sufficient in the present de 
fenseless state of the country, and more than sufficient for the 
resources of this unfortunate and neglected country. In making 
these remarks, I consider myself perfectly justified, for it appears 
to me, and must also to many others, that the United States govern 
ment has been more remiss in not sending, if not forces, the means 
of defending it money. They may have cause to regret it when 
too late, for I fear blood will be made to flow freely, and ere I leave 
this subject, let me add that present appearances have a gloomy 
aspect; and may brighter days now shine on us, is my fervent prayer. 

Major Hardie has not yet honored us with a visit. I should regret 
not seeing him, as from my long experience in this country I might 
be able to impress on his mind the absolute necessity of rendering 
us speedy assistance. Palmer s resignation did not surprise me. 
Yours truly, 



That Ogden s assertion that the United States might 
have to regret its supineness in regard to Oregon might 
be construed to mean more than defeat at the hands of 
the Indians, the governor s answer to this letter of Ogden s 
makes apparent. That those who had to bear the heavy 
responsibilities of the war should have thought of how 
they were to bear them, in case the federal government 
remained indifferent, was but natural. The means sug 
gested are hinted at in the reply to the above : 

OREGON CITY, April 4, 1848. 
To Peter Skeen Ogden : 

DEAR SIR : I received your favor of the first instant. I handed 
the obituary notice to the editor, and feel very much obliged to you 
for it, and hope you will occasionally favor us with your pen. I 
regret very much the circumstances that caused the retreat of the 
army to Waiilatpu, and were bringing Colonel Gilliam to this place. 
I have heard for some time that there was a want of unison in the 
army, and really hope that hereafter this feeling will be done away 
with. I have appointed H. A. G. Lee colonel, in place of Colonel 
Gilliam, deceased. I had appointed him superintendent of Indian 
affairs before I heard of Gilliam s death. I am in hopes he will 
succeed in establishing peace and obtaining the murderers. It is 
uncertain about McKay s returning ; he says he has no wheat in 
the ground. I have heard a good deal about the Klamaths, but 
nothing official. All reports I receive are letters from one of the 
volunteer captains, that incline me to think the reports (rumors) 
are much exaggerated. I hope they are, for the credit of the set 
tlers ; as you say, one war is enough." I hope Major Hardie will 
visit you before he returns. You will see by the proclamation what 
my feelings are on the war question. We are into it, and must keep 
up a good front if possible. I think we will at least be favored by a 
visit from an American sloop-of-war ; if we are not, I think our 
government is determined to do nothing for us. Wonder what they 
would do if we should apply to Great Britain for a loan of one hun 
dred thousand pounds to carry on our operations ? I presume we 
would have a government formed in double-quick time. Report 
says more vessels are on their way. I have had application as fol 
lows : to go to Washington, to Governor Mason, and to Salt Lake 
for assistance. I am afraid the Mormons might be as bad as the 
Indians, and have refused all. 2 

Very respectfully, GEORGE ABERNETHY. 

- The person offering to go to Salt Lake for assistance was Lansford W. Hastings, 
who published The Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California in 1845. He wrote to F. 
W. Pettygrove of Oregon City to see the governor about it. 


At the very time that a United States transport was 
lying in the Columbia river, the authorities of Oregon 
were making application to the British tradtrs for sup 
plies for American volunteers in the service of their coun 
try. The answers received occasioned Governor Abernethy 
to write the following letter to Major Hardie: 

OREGON CITY, April 11, 1848. 
Major J. A. Hardie, United States Army : 

DEAR SIR : General Palmer intends leaving this morning for the 
Anita to purchase a few blankets. We have but little money. We 
need clothing and blankets very much. The men in the field are 
very destitute. I am certain you will let him have them as low as 
you can. If you could, by any possible way, give a small portion 
of the United States property under your care to this territory in 
the present distressed case, it would be gratefully received. Mr. 
McKinlay said to a gentleman yesterday: "You ask for clothing 
from us; here is one of your own vessels with just the things you 
want; why don t they help you ?" You mentioned in conversation 
that perhaps you might be sent up to muster our troops into the 
United States service in Oregon. If this can be done, use your in 
fluence with Governor Mason to effect it. If we should be able to 
withdraw the most of them, we must still garrison the posts, and 
protect the immigration as far as possible. 

I am yours, etc., GEORGE ABERNETHY, 

Governor of Oregon. 

To this very reasonable appeal, as appeared from a 
civilian s point of view, Major Hardie replied: 

BARQUE ANITA, April 12, 1848. 
To Governor Abernethy: 

DEAR SIR : I have received by General Palmer your favor of the 
eleventh instant, and take advantage of General Palmer s return to 
Oregon City to send you a line in answer. I have no clothing of 
any kind on board the vessel, and what camp equipage I have on 
board belongs to the United States quartermaster s department and 
cannot be sold. I could not find myself authorized to issue camp 
and garrison equipage to the territory, though I should be glad to 
afford any assistance to the war in my power. Had I powder and 
lead, or other ordnance stores, and the danger to the territory was 
imminent without such stores for immediate use, I should not hesi 
tate to take the responsibility of issuing them upon your requisition. 
I brought with me for the use of the men enlisted, two hundred 

THE C Ay USE WAR. 235 

and forty-five pairs of blankets to be delivered to them at govern 
ment prices. They were put on board the barque at the sole risk 
and responsibility of Mr. Edward Cunningham, a supercargo and 
merchant on the coast of California, but at my request, it being my 
impression that blankets were very high in Oregon, and that if a 
volunteer (receiving an advance of twenty-one dollars to equip 
himself) could purchase blankets at government prices instead of 
the high rates of the country, it would be of great assistance to him, 
and he would come into the service better equipped than under 
other circumstances. Getting no volunteers, I have sold for Mr. 
Cunningham (to people who would come on board to purchase) a 
few pairs at the same price as for volunteers. I imagine this is the 
cause of the impression which appears to exist abroad, that govern 
ment is selling or disposing of its stores, clothing, etc. 

Did these blankets belong to government, I should be risking 
my commission did I sell a blanket, except it be under instruction 
to that effect. General Palmer can explain the circumstances to 
you fully. I have sold to him a few pairs of blankets at lower 
prices than the invoice which Mr. Cunningham gave me warrants, 
and would gladly do more to forward the interests of the territory 
were I at liberty. I shall proceed immediately to Monterey to rep 
resent to Colonel Mason the state of affairs in Oregon, and feel con 
fident that he will be disposed to send ammunition and arms for the 
prosecution of the war. I need not say that I will ask him to send 
any assistance, either in supplies, etc., or in officers or men, that can 
be spared in California, or that he may feel authorized to send; or 
that he may give what immediate relief the United States govern 
ment can furnish on this side of the continent. Men cannot, I 
suppose, be expected by you in the recent state of the war in Mexico 
and California. Supplies can, I think, be spared. 
I am with great respect, 


That which strikes the student of Oregon history is the 
pathetic patience with which the people, and the provis 
ional government, bore the long- continued neglect of the 
federal government. From the first influx of immigration 
proper, in 1842 and 1843, congress had been entreated to 
make some provision for the protection of travelers to Ore 
gon from Indian attacks, as it had previously been urged 
to insist upon the rights of Americans as against the 
British, represented by the Hudson s Bay Company. But 
congress had equally neglected both. The people, guided 
by a few wise minds, had hit upon the plan of inducing 


the British residents to join with them in forming a joint 
organization, which both parties knew to be temporary, 
and only to be maintained by mutual concessions. After 
much petitioning, congress had at last ordered to be raised 
and equipped a regiment of mounted riflemen, to establish 
posts, and patrol the road to Oregon. But instead of being 
sent at once to this country it was ordered to duty in 
Mexico, from there sent back to Fort Leavenworth at 
the close of the war with Mexico, and its decimated ranks 
filled up with raw recruits. Of these movements isolated 
Oregon was in ignorance, and unable to account for the 
non-appearance of the regiment known to have been raised 
for her exclusive benefit, still strained her eyes toward the 
east, always looking for some sign, and listening for some 
news of the promised aid. For this Dr. Whitman was wait 
ing when he delayed too long to leave the Cayuse country. 
For this the volunteers at Fort Waters waited until Octo 
ber, performing the duty the federal government had been 
pledged to perform ; and for this Oregon was still waiting 
when Governor Abernethy was called upon to assist the 
United States. 

After answering Governor Mason s letter, on the same 
day the governor addressed the following communication 
to President Polk : 

OREGON CITY, April 3, 1848. 
James K. Polk, President of the United States : 

DEAR SIR : I am aware that much of your time is occupied, and 
shall be brief in my remarks, hoping the importance of the case 
will excuse this liberty. A copy of the memorial passed by the leg 
islature at its last session, together with papers containing the ac 
count of the massacre of Dr. Whitman and others at Waiilatpu by 
the Cayuse Indians, were forwarded to congress by Mr. J. L. Meek. 
I also forwarded an application via California. As Mr. Meek left 
Walla Walla on the fourth ultimo, he will, no doubt, reach you in 
May. I send with this a file of the Spectator, and an extra issued 
today, together with my proclamation, by which you will perceive 
that we are carrying on a war with the Indians of the interior. 
Sometime since, commissioners were sent up to treat with the dif 
ferent tribes and endeavor to detach them from the Cayuses. They 
effected a great deal; the Walla Wallas, Nez Percys, and other 


tribes accepted presents and declared they would remain friendly 
with the whites ; still there are a great many that will unite with 
the murderers; all the restless and turbulent spirits among the dif 
ferent tribes, those that were guilty of robbing the immigrants last 
fall, and many who look with a jealous eye on the inroads of the 
white man. So that it is to be feared that a large party will take to 
the field against us. Our settlers are scattered through the different 
valleys, many of them isolated and lying in such a position that 
they could be swept off in a night, and the Indians be in the moun 
tains out of reach next morning. Our policy is to keep the Indian s 
busy in protecting their families and stock in their own country, 
and by this means keep them out of the valley ; and we hope 
we shall succeed, but we have no money, no munitions of war. 
Our patriotic volunteers are destitute of clothing, tents, and pro 
visions, even while in the field; still they are in good spirits, and 
determined to fight to the last. Our powder is gathered up in half 
pounds and parcels, as the settlers have brought more or less of it. 
This will soon give out. I have written to Governor Mason of Cali 
fornia for a supply of powder and lead, which I hope will come by 
first opportunity. I have also written to Commodore Shubrick to 
send us a sloop-of-war to lie in our river to show the Indians that 
we have force that can be brought into this country if necessary. 
Fear, and fear only, rules and controls Indians. Knowing this, 
they have been informed that we expect a man-of-war this summer, 
and as soon as our great chief hears that his people have been 
murdered he will send some of his chiefs to punish the murderers. 
Should this pass off, and we receive no visit from our man-of-war, 
and no troops are sent into the territory, our situation will not be an 
enviable one. The Indians will say, "All this has been said to 
frighten us. See, their ships have not come ; their soldiers have 
not come; do not let us be afraid any longer." Probably a large 
immigration will be on their way to this territory this summer. I 
hope that troops will accompany them, for the Indians are well 
aware of their route, and the time of their coining, and if not pro 
tected, they will very likely go on to meet them, and rob, plunder, 
and murder all parties not strong enough to resist them. Th?v 
robbed them last year ; they will, I fear, proceed further this year. 
I hope, sincerely, that whether congress passes a bill to extend the 
jurisdiction of the United States over us or not, that at least one 
regiment v/ill be sent into Oregon to protect us from the Indians, 
and to protect immigration on their way hither. Colonel Gilliam, 
as you will perceive by the extra accompanying this, was acciden 
tally shot on his way from Waiilatpu to The Dalles. The colonel 
was a brave man, and his loss is much regretted. He was appointed 
by your excellency to the office of "agent of the postoffice depart 
ment," Nothing was ever effected in that department, as an adver- 


tisement was put in the paper offering to let contracts, but as the 
contractor was only to get his pay out of the proceeds of the office, 
and even that could not be guaranteed to him for four years, no 
one would enter into a contract to carry the mail, consequently 
no mail has been started in tjiis territory under the authority of the 
United States. 

Feeling confident that you will aid us in our present difficulties, 
I have placed before you briefly our situation, merely stating in con 
clusion, we have told the Indians, in order to prevent them uniting 
against us, that troops and vessels of war would soon be here. 
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant, 

Governor of Oregon. 

One thing which the president had done was to appoint 
Charles E. Pickett Indian agent for Oregon in the spring 
of 1847. This appointment was very displeasing to Ore- 
gonians, who scoffed at the idea that "the government 
could have made its appearance in such a shape!" 

Pickett was not even in Oregon when his commission 
arrived, but was at the Sandwich Islands, whence he went 
to California. He did not seem, either, to be in any haste 
to assume his duties, when he heard of his appointment, 
but had been guilty of advising travelers to California: 
"After you get to the Siskiyou mountains, use your pleas 
ure in spilling blood, but if I were traveling with you, 
from this on to the first sight of the Sacramento valley, 
my only communication with these treacherous, cowardly, 
untamable rascals would be through my rifle. The char 
acter of their country precludes the idea of making peace 
with them, or ever maintaining treaties if made; so that 
philanthropy must be set aside in cases of necessity while 
self-preservation here dictates these savages being killed off 
as soon as possible." 3 

However true this estimate of the character of the Shasta 
Indians may have been, it was ill advice, since every 
death inflicted on these "rascals," even in self-defense, 
was sure to be avenged, and upon any person of the white 

* Oregon Spectator, April 29, 1847. 


race, however innocent, 1 who might come in their way, 
and not once only, but over and over. This fact was well 
understood by the pioneers, who were careful not to spill 
Indian blood without cause. 

To Pickett, Governor Abernethy addressed a letter 
asking him to endeavor to procure assistance from the 
commander who had relieved Commodore Shubrick 
Thomas Ap. C. Jones. Jones replied that had he any 
vessel to spare he would gladly send it to the Columbia 
river, but that he only had three in his command with 
which to hold the Mexican ports, and for all other pur 
poses on the coast, the others being sent home; but if 
those expected out arrived, he would send one to Oregon. 
The United States commissioner at the Sandwich Islands, 
A. Ten Eyck, Esq., on June fifth, also addressed aletter to 
Commodore Jones upon the subject. Ten Eyck s letter 
revealed the fact that a communication had been sent to 
him by some of the anti-British and anti-Hudson s bay 
people of Oregon representing that ill feeling existed 
between the Americans and the fur company, which had 
furnished arms and ammunition to the Indians, and other 
wise aided them in their hostilities against the settlers; 
that an angry correspondence had taken place between 
Governor Abernethy and Mr. Douglas; that the volun 
teers had threatened Vancouver, and that Mr. Douglas 
had written the company s agent at the islands to send an 
English man-of-war to the Columbia. "Our people," 
added Ten Eyck, "are very poor, and are much in need of 
arms and ammunition, and are much alarmed. Having 
good reason to credit these rumors, I do not hesitate to 
request that you lose no time in dispatching such force as 
you can spare from the squadron, and as the exigencies of 
the case may seem to require to the Columbia river." 

A copy of this letter having been sent to Governor 

4 Pickett was an immigrant of 1843; county judge of Clackamas county in 1845, 
and appointed Indian agent in 1847. He did not serve, but became somewhat con 
spicuous in California by his writings. 


Abernethy by the ship Eveline, the governor replied a 
month later, that the troubles in the country were in a 
measure settled, and the army disbanded, except the few 
men at the forts, which they would hold until the United 
States troops arrived to relieve them, which arrivals he 
hoped would be next month. He corrected the rumors of 
hostile acts or feelings between the settlers and the Hud 
son s Bay Company, and denied that any angry corre 
spondence had taken place between himself and Mr. 

The outcome of all this correspondence, anxiety, and 
waiting was the receipt, after the danger had passed, of 
the aid so long solicited in arms and ammunition. Major 
Hardie, on his return to California, forwarded one hun 
dred rifles, twenty-five thousand rifle cartridges, and two 
hundred pounds of rifle powder, with two six-pound iron 
guns and carriages, and ammunition for the same. Lieu 
tenant E. O. C. Ord, of the third artillery, forwarded one 
six-pound brass gun, with two hundred and ten strapped 
shot, seventy canister-shot, twenty-eight spherical shot, 
and other artillery service, five hundred muskets, with 
their fixtures, and fifty thousand ball, with a large amount 
of ammunition. 5 Fortunately for the peace of the colony, 
these military stores did not arrive while the American 
blood was at fever heat with wrongs real and fancied; but 
in time to give a feeling of security to that portion of the 
inhabitants who remained when the majority of the able- 
bodied men had rushed off to the gold fields of California 
the same year. 

The discovery of gold to a people so poor in money and 
goods as were the colonists of Oregon, was an inestimable 
boon, solving many a difficult problem, and diverting 
their thoughts from the late troubles, and the neglect of 
the federal government, which was again aggravatingly 

The invoices were dated June twenty-seventh and July tenth, respectively. 
They arrived by the Henry August ninth : Oregon Spectator, September 7, 1848. 


displayed by the non-appearance in the autumn of the 
long-looked for regiment of mounted riflemen. A hope of 
this promised relief from the dangers which threatened 
him, had undoubtedly, they believed, led Dr. Whitman 
into the attitude of seeming to defy the Cayuses, even be 
fore the sickness broke out which had exasperated them 
still further, and so became instead of a protection a 
motive for his death. Until it was well into the winter, 
every express from Fort Hall brought the message, "No 
news yet of any troops on the road." Spring came, and 
still no news. Summer wore away in keeping the war in 
the Indian country. The immigration arrived with the 
discouraging intelligence that the Oregon regiment had 
been ordered to Mexico, and nothing was known of its 
future destination. The murderers were still at large, but 
like Cain of old, had been driven into strange lands, and 
the places that had known them knew them no more. 

Then the colonists drew a long breath, and hearing of 
the gold fields of the Sacramento valley, every ragged 
soldier who could take a share in an ox team and wagon 
load of provisions, set off to conquer fortune. Many died, 
worn out by the privations of soldiering and mining life, 
but the majority returned with more or less of the precious 
dust, stored up in tin cans, pickle bottles, or whatever ves 
sel they could find that would hold fast the elusive atoms. 
Those that remained harvested the fields, and sold the 
crops for a good price in cash. The legislature of 1848- 
1849 passed a coinage act, under which about fifty thou 
sand dollars were minted, which helped to relieve the 
embarrassment in making exchanges until such time as 
the United States began the coinage of gold in San 

In the meantime, the messenger dispatched to Washing 
ton with memorials, and an account of the Waiilatpu 
tragedy, had been able to stir congress to definite action 
in the matter of establishing a territorial government over 
Oregon, which was to all intents and purposes already a 



state, independent, but poor and loyal. What might have 
happened, under so much provocation, had gold been dis 
covered two or three years earlier, the speculative mind 
may conceive. But in all its memorials Oregon had ever 
professed its attachment to the federal government, on 
which it still humbly waited. 

On the fourteenth of August the act was passed which 
brought Oregon under the operation of United States laws. 
General Joseph Lane was appointed governor, and with 
Meek, who was given the appointment of marshal of the 
territory, urged to hasten to his field of dut}^ where he 
arrived March 2, 1849, and issued his proclamation on the 
following day, giving Oregon one day under President 
Polk, who had been elected on the " fifty-four-forty-or- 
fight " sentiment of the democracy in 1844, and therefore 
desired this honor. 

Lane, by virtue of his office, was also superintendent of 
Indian affairs, and applied himself at once to the settle 
ment of minor difficulties occurring near the settlements 
on the south side of the Columbia, and to the restoration 
of peace between the Klickitats and Walla Wallas who 
were at enmity on the north side. Early in May a more 
serious danger arose from a design formed by Patkanim, 
chief of the Snoqualimichs, to capture Fort Nisqually of 
the Hudson s Bay Company, and to drive away or kill off 
the American settlers at the head of the sound. The plan 
was cunningty laid, after the Indian manner, to capture 
the fort first, and . secure the ammunition therein, after 
which the rest would have been easy. In order to obtain 
an entrance, and disarm suspicion, the Snoqualimichs 
pretended some occasion for hostilities against the Nis- 
quallies, a harmless band employed by the Puget Sound 
Agricultural Company as herdsmen, and appeared near 
the fort in their war paint. Patkanim insinuated himself 
inside the stockade, ostensibly to have a gun mended; 
really, it was believed, to give a signal. At the same time 
a party of Americans approached the gate of the fort, and 


seeing the Indians in war costume were endeavoring 
hurriedly to get in, when a volley from the guns of the 
Snoqualimichs followed the discharge of a gun within the 
fort, and Leander C. Wallace, a young American, fell 
dead, another was wounded mortally, and a third wounded 
who survived. The gates were closed at the same instant, 
excluding both Indians and Americans, and firing from 
the bastions soon silenced the former. However, when 
Dr. Tolmie, who was in charge, went out to bring in the 
body of Wallace, he was aimed at by a Snoqualimich. 
The assassin was checked by a Snohomish Indian present, 
who reproved him, saying, "Harm enough done for one 

Repulsed, and comprehending that they had failed in 
their design, the Indians retired, but later sent word to 
the American settlers that they would be permitted to 
leave the country by abandoning their property. To this 
the settlers replied that they had come to stay, and forth 
with began to erect block-houses for defense at Turn water 
and Skookum Chuck. 

This affair caused Governor Lane to make a journey to 
the sound country, accompanied by the only United States 
force then in the territory Lieutenant Hawkins and five 
men remaining from the governor s escort across the plains, 
the others having deserted in California. The governor 
carried with him arms and ammunition for the settlers. 
At Tumwater he was overtaken by an express from Van 
couver, informing him of the arrival in the river of the 
United States propeller Massachusetts, having on board 
two companies of artillery, under Brevet-Major Hathaway, 
who sent him word that if expedient, a part of his force 
could be moved at once to the sound. On receiving this 
dispatch, Lane returned to the Columbia without visiting 
Nisqually, sending, however, a letter to Dr. Tolrnie, request 
ing him to inform the Indians that now he was prepared 
to punish any outrages, and they could govern themselves 
accordingly; also requesting that no ammunition should 


be furnished the Indians by the Hudson s Bay Company. 

Arrived at Vancouver, he found the Massachusetts 
about to proceed to Portland, to be loaded with lumber 
for the use of the government in building quarters for the 
troops stationed at Benicia, California, and Major Hatha 
way encamped in the rear of the Hudson s Bay Company s 
fort, with one company of artillery, while the other com 
pany, under Captain B. II. Hill, had been left at Astoria, 
in quarters built by the crew of the wrecked Shark in 
1846. The whole force consisted of one hundred and 
sixty-one, rank and file, being companies L and M, first 
regiment of United States artillery. It was arranged 
that Captain Hill should proceed to the sound and estab 
lish a post near Nisqually before demanding the surrender 
of the murderers of the Americans. 

Meantime, the government had commissioned three sub- 
Indian agents, namety, George C. Preston, J. Q. Thornton, 
and Robert Newell; but Preston not arriving, Oregon was 
divided into two districts, and Thornton assigned to the 
north of the Columbia, while Newell had charge of the 
Indians south of the river. Late in July Thornton visited 
the sound, where he spent several weeks in obtaining 
information which could have been obtained in a day from 
Dr. Tolmie, and offered a reward of eighty blankets, worth 
about five hundred dollars, to the Snoqualmie tribe for 
the surrender of the murderers of the Americans, besides 
having the captain of the English vessel, which trans 
ported Hill s company to Nisqually, arrested for giving 
the customary grog to the Indians and half-breeds who 
were hired to discharge the vessel. 

These proceedings offended the governor,, whose author 
ity as superintendent of Indian affairs was ignored, and 
Thornton soon resigned, leaving Indian matters on the 
sound in the hands of Captain Hill, who, by the month 

6 The officers, besides Major Hathaway and Captain Hill, were First Lieutenants 
J. B. Gibson and T. Talbot, Second Lieutenants G. Tallmadge and J. Dement, Second 
Lieutenant J. J. Woods, quartermaster and commissary, and Second Lieutenant J. 
B. Fry, adjutant. 


of August, was established at Fort Steilacoom. In Sep 
tember the guilty Indians were surrendered, and in October 
two of the chief participants in the crime, Kassas and 
Quallawort, a brother of Patkanim, were tried and exe 
cuted. This trial cost the United States about three thou 
sand dollars. During the following winter one of the 
artillerymen of Fort Steilacoom was murdered, but the 
crime could not be fixed upon any individual, and went 

It is but justice here to record the fact that the sup 
pression of hostilities in this region at this period of its 
history, was due largely to the influence of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, and personally to Dr. Tolmie, whose knowl 
edge and good judgment were powerful to avert hostilities. 7 

As to the arrest of the Cay use murderers, that could not 
be undertaken by the new government before the arrival 
of the rifle regiment. That body, after being recruited at 
Fort Leaven worth, set out for Oregon May 10, 1849, with 
about six hundred men, thirty-one commissioned officers, 
several women and children, one hundred and sixty 
wagons, teamsters, guides, and train agents, nearly two 
thousand mules and horses, and subsistence for the whole, 
the officer in command being Brevet-Colonel W. W. Loring. 

Posts were established at Laramie and Fort Hall, where 
two companies each were left. Cholera, which had broken 
out among the immigration, to California, carried off a 
considerable number of the ill-conditioned recruits, and 
desertion to the gold mines as many more. A herd of beef 
cattle and other supplies intended to meet the regiment at 
Fort Hall 8 having taken the southern route, and being 
late in starting, failed to meet Loring s command, which 

7 Notwithstanding this truth, there are several letters in the Oregon Archives, MS. 
numbered from nine hundred and fifty-one to nine hundred and fifty-seven, which 
show an attempt to convict Tolmie of influencing the Indians against the American 

8 The supply train sent from Oregon consisted of fifteen freight wagons and a 
herd of fat cattle. The expedition was commanded by Lieutenant Hawkins of 
Lane s escort, and piloted by the late commissary-general, Joel Palmer, who, when 
within a few days of Fort Hall, turned back and took charge of a train to California. 


was thus reduced to short rations and insufficient clothing. 

On arriving at The Dalles the men presented the appear 
ance, familiar to Oregon immigrants, of naked feet and 
limbs hardly concealed by the tattered remains of cloth 
ing, their horses too worn out to carry them, and their 
own strength almost exhausted. They found the means 
of transportation down the Columbia to consist of three 
rnackinaw boats, one yawl, four canoes, and one whale- 
boat. A raft constructed to carry several tons of goods, 
chiefly private, and placed in charge of eight men, was 
wrecked in the rapids at the cascades, and six of the men 
drowned. That part of the command which took the 
wagon road over the mountains at the base of Mount 
Hood, lost two-thirds of their horses. The whole loss of 
government property on the march from Leavenworth 
was forty-five freight wagons, one ambulance, and over 
three hundred horses and mules. The number of men 
who died and deserted was seventy. 

On arriving at their destination, the mounted riflemen 
found no quarters provided for them, and were housed for 
the winter in rented tenements in Oregon City at a great 
expense. In May, 1849, Captain Rufus Ingalls had been 
directed by the chief of the quartermaster s department 
of the Pacific division to go to Oregon and establish posts. 
He arrived on the Anita at Vancouver soon after Hatha 
way landed his command at that place, but the Walpole 
which followed with two years supplies being chartered 
for Astoria, landed the stores at the mouth of the river, 
whence they had to be conveyed at great labor and ex 
pense to Vancouver by means of the small craft in use on 
the Columbia, consuming much time in the transferance. 
Nor was this the only obstacle to dispatch. There were 
wanting both the material for building barracks and the 
mechanics and laborers to perform the work; and that 
which was accomplished was done by artillerymen at a 
dollar a day extra pay for cutting and hauling timber out 
of the woods, and rafting lumber from the Hudson s Bay 


Company s mill, six miles above Vancouver. Even with 
the help of the company in procuring Indian labor, and 
furnishing such transportation as was in their power, slow 
progress was made. At length the command of Major 
Hathaway was housed in such quarters as were provided 
by adapting several buildings belonging to the company, 
and erecting others of logs. 9 

In September, 1849, General Persifer F. Smith, com 
mander of the Pacific division, arrived in Oregon with the 
chief quartermaster, H. D. Vinton, with the object of 
making locations for military posts. They approved the 
selections already made, but abandoned the design of a 
post on the road to California through the apprehension 
that the soldiery, if placed on the route to the gold mines, 
would desert. To prevent desertion, he directed Major 
Hathaway to remove his command to Astoria early the 
following spring, Colonel Loring to take possession of the 
barracks at Vancouver with the rifle regiment, a part of 
which was to be sent to The Dalles, and to be emplo3^ed at 
both places in cutting timber for the necessary buildings. 

Before these arrangements could be carried out, one hun 
dred and twenty of the riflemen deserted, and took the 
road to California, behaving so discreetly as to excite no 
suspicion of their real character among the settlers, pre 
tending to be a government expedition, and getting their 
supplies on credit of the farmers. Governor Lane and 
Colonel Loring pursued, and overtook one division of 
seventy men in the Umpqua valley, with whom Lane 
returned to Oregon City about the middle of April. 
Loring followed the trail of the others into the snows of 
the Siskiyou mountains, securing only seven more, and 
having experienced much hardship, as also . had the 
deserters, a number of whom were believed to have per 
ished, as they were never heard from. 

9 The only title to lands in Oregon at this period was that conferred by the organic 
act of the territory upon mission sites, and the supposed possessory rights of the 
Hudson s Bay Company. It was thought safer to establish a garrison on land which 
could be purchased of the company than to take it elsewhere. Steilacoom also was 
planted on land leased from the Puget Sound agricultural company. 


The artillerymen were finally removed to Astoria, and 
the riflemen to Vancouver, where they were put to work 
constructing buildings on the ground declared a military 
reservation in the following October. In May, Major S. S. 
Tucker was ordered to The Dalles with two companies of 
riflemen to establish a supply post. He declared a reser 
vation ten miles square, and proceeded to erect suitable 
buildings about one mile back from the river. As the 
reservation at Vancouver covered a tract four miles square, 
and at Astoria included lands settled upon and improved, 
there was much dissatisfaction. But when Major Loring 
attempted to reserve for an arsenal the land of Meek and 
Luelling at Milwaukie, planted with the first fruit trees in 
the territory, the resentment of the pioneers reached a 
climax, and congress was informed that the Oregonians 
would hereafter fight their Indian wars alone, and the 
mounted rifle regiment could be withdrawn at any mo 
ment ! That these impositions were afterwards corrected 
did not lessen the indignation engendered at the time. 

In the meantime, no attempt was made by the military 
authorities to arrest the Cayuse murderers, although Lane 
had, ever since his arrival, been carrying on negotiations 
with the Indians in the interior to secure their capture 
without compulsion. Immediately after his return from 
the Umpqua with the deserting riflemen, he received word 
that five of the Cayuses had surrendered themselves to be 
tried, and escorted by Lieutenant J. McL. Addison with 
ten men, went to receive them at The Dalles. He found 
there Tiloukaikt, Tamahas, Klokamas, Isaiachaiakis, and 
Kiamasumpkin, with their friends and relatives. 10 By 
what arguments they had been persuaded to give thern- 
f selves up has never been revealed. Blanchet says that 
they only consented to come down to hold a talk with the 
officers of the government; but that does not seem prob- 

10 The witnesses at the trial did not always identify the murderers. They swore 
to seeing Tiloukaikt, his son Edward, Ishholhol, Frank Escaloom, Klokamas, Tam- 
sucky, Joe Lewis, I Tamahas, and Isiaasheluckus kill certain of the victims. Kiama 
sumpkin was not named by them, though he confessed his guilt by giving himself up. 


able under the circumstances. It is certain they offered 
ample pay in horses to be successfully defended, from 
which it would appear they expected to stand trial. 

The heart and mind of the savage is a wild stock on 
which it is idle to attempt to graft an advanced civiliza 
tion and have it bear perfect fruit. Tiloukaikt, the chief 
of these criminals, when curiously questioned by his 
captors concerning his motive in giving himself up, asked: 
"Did not your missionaries teach us that Christ died to 
save his people? Thus die we, if we must, to save our 
people." Yet he had no remorse at having slain his 
teachers, and when offered food from the soldiers mess, 
scorned to taste it, asking, " What hearts have you to offer 
me of your food, whose hands are red with your brother s 

It is probable that the Cayuses recognized the fact that 
theirs was a case requiring a desperate remedy. The long 
threatened soldiery of the United States had made their 
appearance, and while they, the Indians, could not buy 
ammunition, their enemies now had it in abundance. For 
two years they had roamed about, and peace was farther 
off than ever, with power accumulating against them. 
Where hundreds of white men had come from the east 
before, thousands were coming now to the Pacific coast, 
and there would be no end of this migration with which 
they had been threatened. Perhaps white men who un 
derstood the laws of their people could free them; if not, 
it was only death, at the worst; and they were not afraid 
to die. 

The prisoners were brought to Oregon City, and confined 
on an island in the midst of the falls, connected with the 
mainland by a bridge, which was guarded by a detachment 
of riflemen under Lieutenant W. B. Lane. The trial was 
set for the twenty-second of May, the prosecution being con 
ducted by United States district attorney Amory Holbrook, 
and the defense undertaken by the territorial secretary, 
Knitzing Pritchett, assisted by R. B. Reynolds, paymaster, 


and Thomas Claiborne, Jr., captain of the rifle regiment. 
As there was no doubt of the guilt of the accused, which 
was sufficiently established on evidence, the defense took 
the ground that at the date of the massacre the laws of 
the United States had not been extended over Oregon; 
the court ruling out this plea by citations of the act of 
congress of 1834, regulating intercourse with Indians, 
and the boundary treaty of 1846, which confirmed to the 
United States all of the Oregon territory south of the forty- 
ninth parallel. The judge, 0. C. Pratt, might have added 
that the organic law of the territory confirmed the laws 
of the provisional government of Oregon not in conflict 
with the laws of the United States. 

Claiborne endeavored to show that in 1834 Oregon was 
in joint occupancy with Great Britain, and that jurisdic 
tion was barred, and quoted the act of eminent domain to 
make it appear that Great Britain could still object to 
these proceedings should she choose. The questions being 
argued, Judge Pratt decided that exclusive jurisdiction 
over Oregon being vested in congress by the treaty of 1846, 
the act of 1834 ipso facto came into force in the territory, 
whose jurisdiction was undoubted. Olaiborne then peti 
tioned for a change of venue, which was refused. 

The jurymen called were thirty-eight, out of which 
number all the older settlers, or those liable to be embit 
tered against the Indians, were carefully excluded. 11 It 
could not therefore be said that a fair trial was not accorded 
the Cayuses, or that their attorneys overlooked any loop 
hole of escape. They, indeed, argued that the death of 
Dr. Whitman was brought about by a combination of cir 
cumstances; that there was no absolute proof that the 
prisoners were the actual murderers, the evidence of the 
witnesses being confused and more or less conflicting; and 
that in any case the death of wives and children among 

n The jury accepted were J. D. Hunsaker, A. Jackson, Hiram Straight, Wm. Par- 
rott, Wm. Cason, A. Post, Samuel Welch, Joseph Alfrey, John Dinman, Anson Cohen, 
John Ellenburg, and A. B. Holcoinb. 


the Cayuses was provocation to justify revenge in the sav 
age mind all of which, however true, was futile to 
unsettle the conviction in civilized minds that the death 
penalty alone could secure indemnity from similar atroci 
ties in the future. The verdict of the jury was, "guilty as 
charged," and the sentence of the judge was that they be 
hung on the third of June. A new trial was asked for 
and denied. Governor Lane being absent in the southern 
mines at the time, Pritchett declared his intention, as 
acting governor, of reprieving the condemned Indians 
until an appeal could be taken to the supreme court of 
the United States. These declarations caused much ex 
citement, and the marshal of the territory was at a loss 
how to proceed; but Pratt instructed him that as there 
was no certain evidence that Lane was absent from the 
territory, Pritchett s acts would be unauthorized. This 
opinion coming to the ears of the secretary, he withdrew 
his opposition, and the execution took place as ordered. 

All through the trial perfect order and decorum pre 
vailed. There was some fear that a rescue might be 
attempted on the day of execution, and many persons 
present came armed, but here again perfect order was 
maintained. Father Veyret (Catholic) attended the 
doomed men to the scaffold, and, according to Blanchet, 
exclaimed, "Onward, onward to heaven, children; into 
thy hands, Lord Jesus, I commend my spirit." Let us 
hope the unhappy creatures were comforted. Thus was 
completed the final act of the most tragic chapter in 
Orgon s history for many years. 

Taking into consideration the condition of the country 
at the time of the Cayuse war, and the rush of event fol 
lowing it, the papers and accounts relating to it were pre 
served with remarkable care, and the business transacted 
in the main with fidelity. The last provisional legislature 
of 1848-1849 was informed by Governor Abernethy in his 
message that "the expenses incurred for the services of 


privates and non-cocomissioned officers in accordance with 
an act passed twenty-eight of December, 1847, allowing 
one dollar and fifty cents per day, amounts to one hun 
dred and nine thousand three hundred and eleven dol 
lars and fifty cents; in addition to this will be the pay of 
the officers and persons employed in the several depart 
ments connected with the army. This will devolve upon 
you to arrange during your present session; until it is 
done the total expenses of the war cannot be ascertained." 

Many of the volunteers being in immediate need of pay 
ment, he recommended that a law should be enacted 
authorizing the issuance of scrip made redeemable as 
early as possible, and bearing interest until paid, as it 
ultimately would be, by the United States. As is usual 
in such cases, many persons were compelled or persuaded 
to part with their scrip for less than its face value to others 
who could afford to wait, and thus were deprived of the 
compensation intended for their severe fatigues and hard 

A resolution was adopted by the legislature early in Feb 
ruary, 1849, calling for reports "from the adjutant-general 
of the names, number, and grade, with the number in 
each grade of all military officers in the territory since the 
twenty-second day of December, 1847, with the date of 
their commissions, together with a complete roll of all 
officers and men engaged at any time since the tenth of 
December, 1847, by the war department, their rank, grade, 
and time of service, how long each actually served, and 
whether any, arid who, quit the service without being 
duly discharged by the proper officer; what proclamations 
and military orders have been issued since the twenty- 
eighth of December, 1847, by the governor or commander- 
in-chief of the militia, and whether the same have been 
recorded, and if not, why not; what orders he had issued 
as received from the governor or commander-in-chief, and 
whether they have been recorded, and if not, why not; 
whether he issued forms to all officers required to make 


returns, and what returns he has received from military 
officers, and the names of each officer making the same, 
and whether said returns have been duly recorded, and if 
not, why not; whether any person authorized by law to 
receive military stores or funds for obtaining the same, 
and who has reported to him the kind of funds or stores 
so received, and to whom the same were delivered, and if 
so, whether the said reports have been recorded, and if 
not, why not; also if any such report has been made to 
deposit with the clerk of this house for the use of the 
members during the present session; whether the commis 
sary-general has reported to him the manner in which he 
has expended or disposed of military funds or stores, and 
if so, whether said report has been recorded, and if not, 
why not; and also to deposit said report with the clerk 
for the use of the house; whether he has reported quar 
terly to the governor the state of the militia and military 
stores, and if not, why not; together with all other official 
acts of his pertaining to the office of adjutant-general 
which he may deem of use to the legislature in adjusting 
the several matters growing out of the late war." 12 

By a similarly detailed resolution the commissioners 
appointed to negotiate loans were required to report to the 
legislature, and did so as follows: 

To the Honorable, the Legislative Assembly of Oregon Territory : 

GENTLEMEN : I present you with a schedule of our transactions 
as loan commissioners for the territory. In accordance with our 
duties as loan commissioners, we have paid over with the exception 
of forty-two dollars and seven cents, all moneys and available means 
to the commissary-general, for which we have obtained his vouchers, 
with an account of which you are no\v presented. It will be found 
on examination that we have issued more bonds than we have 
vouchers for, to meet \vhich discrepancy we have a draft of five 
hundred dollars on Hamilton Campbell. 

Aggregate amount of bonds issued, fourteen thousand seven hun 
dred and sixty-one dollars and seventy-five cents; aggregate amount 
of vouchers for commissary-general, fourteen thousand three hun 
dred and thirty-four dollars and ninety-five cents, leaving a balance 
of four hundred and sixteen dollars and eighty cents. 

12 Resolution of S. R. Thurston : Oregon Archives, Til. 


To meet the above we have balanced in George Abernethy s books 
to our credit, four thousand two hundred and seven dollars; Rev. 
William Roberts draft 011 H. Campbell, five hundred dollars ; 
leaving a balance in our favor of one hundred and twenty-five 
dollars and twenty-seven cents. 

The five hundred dollar draft above alluded to is a draft drawn 
by Rev. William Roberts on H. Campbell, to the order of the Oregon 
loan commissioners. W. H. Willson, one of the board, took charge 
of the draft and was to present to Mr. Campbell for payment. The 
order or draft was presented to Mr. Campbell, but for what cause I 
am not able to inform your honorable body, for neither property nor 
money came into our hands as payment of said draft, but I think 
it was delivered over to the commissary-general s agents by Mr. 

There were some drafts drawn on us by the commissary -general 
as bonds for the payment of debts which the commissary-general 
had contracted. These drafts we did not accept for this reason, 
we did not think the commissary-general, or any other officer of 
this government had any right to purchase property, or negotiate a 
loan of any kind, without our knowledge or consent, and call on us 
to pledge the faith of this territory for its payment, as the commis 
sioners alone were only authorized to negotiate a loan and pledge 
the faith of this territory for its payment. The act creating the 
present board authorizes them whenever it becomes necessary to 
affix the cash value of property to have it appraised by men under 
oath, consequently we could not execute a bond for the payment of 
property purchased by the commissary-general or any other officer 
as they wished. If the bonds were placed in our hands subject to 
the draft or drafts of the commissary-general, then of course we 
should issue to the extent of our limits. On the twenty-eighth of 
March last, or near that time, the commissary-general told me that 
when he was at The Dalles, it became necessary for him to take 
wagons and oxen, the property of Phelaster and Philemon Lee, to 
the amount of two hundred and fifty dollars. I consented to give 
bonds and did so, but in a few days I was called upon by different 
persons for bonds for a very large amount; I refused to execute bonds 
to them until I could see the other two commissioners, and when 
we met together it was thought best not to give any more bonds for 
any property, as we knew nothing about it; so for these reasons we 
refused to give bonds for any more property taken at The Dalles by 
the commissary-general. 

There is another matter I wish to explain it is this : When I 
commenced to collect funds I was not able to obtain any money ex 
cept orders on stores in Oregon City ; in consequence of this it was 
impossible for the commissary-general to obtain articles for the use 
of the army. He told me to get axes and spades, and these articles 
were very much wanted to make roads for wagons to pass up the 


Columbia river. Philip Foster had subscribed fifty dollars, to be 
paid on the stores, and John B. Price twenty-five, to be paid also on 
the stores. These gentlemen told me if I would give them twenty - 
five per cent premium they would let me have cash, and I told 
them I would do so. Mr. Foster gave me thirty-seven dollars and 
a half, and I gave him a bond for fifty dollars ; Mr. Price gave me 
eighteen dollars and seventy-five cents, and 1 gave him a bond for 
twenty -five dollars. This I did for the best, but should your honor 
able body think otherwise, I am ready to pay this government out 
of my own funds the amount of premium that I found at that time 
necessary to allow. I bring this to your particular notice because 
it was noticed at the time by one of the presses of Oregon City. 
Whatever your decision on this point may be, I alone am responsi 
ble, as my two associates know nothing of the matter. 

The commissary -general, or his agent, A. J. Hembree, Esq., 
obtained a loan of one hundred and ninety-six dollars and a half, or 
thereabouts, from Thomas Justin, for which they agreed to get him 
a bond for two hundred and sixteen dollars and thirty-three cents. 
I first refused to give the bond for that amount, but the commissary- 
general being very much in want of cash, and upon consideration, 
sooner than the money should be returned, I executed the bond to 
Thomas Justin for two hundred and sixteen dollars and thirty-five 
cents. All bonds issued by us bear interest at the rate of ten per 
cent per annum, and all signed by the governor and countersigned 
by the secretary of this territory. All the books and papers belong 
ing are hereby transmitted for your examination. 

Owing to the resignation of General A. L. Lovejoy as one of the 
commissioners, and the absence of Dr. W. H. Willson, this docu 
ment will appear with but one signature. 

(Signed). HUGH BURNS, 

Oregon City, February 8, 1849. 

The following report was furnished by the adjutant- 
general : 

Io the Honorable House of Representatives : 

GENTLEMEN : In answer to the resolution calling upon this de 
partment for documents, papers, &c., &c., for information, I beg 
leave herewith to transmit the following documents, papers, &c., &c. : 

The record of the enlistment and discharge of the first regiment 
of Oregon riflemen ( marked A ) shows the names of all officers, field 
and staff, together with a complete roll, term of service, and amount 
of pay belonging to each non-commissioned officer and private. 

The staff, field, and commissioned officers, the respective amounts 
due them have not been carried out. There has been some differ 
ence of opinion relative to the amounts due said officers. It has 


been contended by some that they were entitled to the same pay as 
officers of the same grade in the United States army. But this 
department has declined making up their pay at all, until such 
time as this department shall have further instructions from your 
honorable body. 

The record, roll, &c., &c., include all that have been engaged in 
the war, except an extra official report by H. A. G. Lee of about 
fifty men, rank and file ( marked B ), being the first company that 
went to The Dalles, and a report of Felix Scott, captain, who volun 
teered their services, and found themselves, to protect the southern 
frontier (marked C), together with all orders to that officer issued 
from this department; and one other report which came to this 
C } office this day from Captain Levi Scott, who commanded the Cali 
fornia expedition, &c. (marked D). There was never any order 
issued to that officer from this department. 

Agreeably to the report of Colonel Lee, there were some few men 
who left the service without leave, which report is herewith trans 
mitted for your inspection ( marked E). 

There has been no proclamation issued since the twenty-eighth of 
December, 1848, and why not recorded because none to record ; but 
I herewith transmit some proclamations and military orders that 
issued on and since the twenty-fifth of December, 1847, under the 
mark of F, all of which have been recorded in my office. Forms 
have been issued to all officers requiring the same. 

Returns have been generally received from the respective officers 
required to make returns, and the same have been duly recorded in 
my office at Oregon City; the same are embodied under the mark A. 
There has been no report to this department from any person of the 
reception of military stores, or funds of any kind, other than those 
referred to your honorable body by his excellency, Governor Aber- 
nethy. Nor has the commissary or quartermaster-generals reported 
to this department the manner in which they have expended the 
funds, if any they have received, or the military stores other than 
as above. \ 

The governor has [ been ] always informed and thoroughly ad 
vised of the doings and acts of the army at all times, up to the 
time of disbanding the army, and since that time when any new 
matter occasioned anything new. 

And, in conclusion, allow the undersigned to observe that the 
officers were generally disposed to do their duty, but owing. to the 
want of books and information relative to their respective duties, 
there were many informalities, which, of course, has rendered it 
very difficult for this department to arrive to an exactity in relation 
to the number of men, rank and file. There was continually trans 
fers going on from one company to another, though contrary to in 
structions. Likewise there was, among the commissioned officers, 
resignations going on and new elections taking place to fill the re- 


spective vacancies occasioned thereby, which by personal inter 
views with some of the officers would seem never reached this office; 
and most likely there were some commissioned officers who acted in 
their respective capacities, who have not been reported, and the same 
may be the case with some of the privates. 

In the case of H. A. G. Lee s extra official report under the mark 
of B, the said men have not been reported to this office at all, and 
this is the reason they are not enrolled among the other companies 
under the letter A. These men responded to their country s call, 
and were on the line of march without an hour s warning to avenge 
their country s wrongs and shall they have no pay? 

And likewise, in the case of Captain Levi Scott, who commanded 
the California expedition, whose report came into my office this day. 
That officer, and those connected with him, underwent many hard 
ships and fatigues in the service of their country. It was deemed 
by the governor, and the community generally, that an express to 
California would, in a measure, relieve this government from its 
then critical situation, which was ardently desired by all. Captain 
Levi Scott was commissioned the seventh of March, 1848, with 
grade as captain ; and from the fifth of February, 1848, likewise, 
Captain Felix Scott, L. N. English, first lieutenant, and J. H. 
Lewis, second lieutenant. These officers were commissioned the 
tenth of May, 1848, with the grade respectively, and rank from 
the first of May, 1848. How long, and what time, these said officers 
and privates were in service, has never been reported to this depart 
ment. J. M. Garrison was commissioned as captain the seventh of 
March, 1848, and took command of a small reinforcement and pro 
ceeded to The Dalles, where said Garrison was directed to remain, 
subject to the orders of the commandant in the field. How long 
the said Garrison served in that capacity is unknown to this depart 

I herewith transmit further for your consideration and informa 
tion all military orders issued by the governor that did not pass 
through this department, under the letter H. Every information 
and explanation that is in the power of this department will be 
cheerfully given, while I have the honor to remain, gentlemen, 
Your very humble and obedient servant, 

Adj utant-General. 

Accompanying this report was the following: 


OREGON CITY, December 1, 1848. 
To His Excellency, George Abernethy, Governor of Oregon : 

SIR : Herewith I beg to transmit a report of the amount due the 
several companies composing the first regiment of Oregon riflemen 



for their services in the war between the territory of Oregon and the 
Cayuse Indians, showing an aggregate of ($109,311 50) one hundred 
and nine thousand three hundred and eleven dollars and fifty cents. 
This amount does not include the services of any of the commis 
sioned officers, as there has been no provision made for their pay. 
Company K was formed out of the companies of Captains English 
and Garrison on the seventeenth of April, 1848, on which day the 
officers were elected. Company I was formed by Colonel James 
Waters at Fort Waters 011 the seventh day of June, 1848, and re 
mained in service until the twenty-ninth of September, 1848. 

I beg leave also to hand you herewith two reports from the com 
missary and quartermaster-generals department, viz., A, showing 
the amount of liabilities created by those departments; and B, show 
ing the amount of disbursements by those departments. 

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient ser 


Assistant Adjutant-General. 

To A. E. Wilson, Acting Adjutant-General: 

A. Report of the commissary and quartermaster-generals, show 
ing the amount of liabilities created by the commissary, quarter 
master, and ordnance departments in the war between the territory 
of Oregon and the Cayuse Indians, classed as under : Aggregate of 
stationery, one hundred and forty-four dollars and eighty-eight and 
one-half cents; aggregate of camp equipage, seven hundred and 
ninety-nine dollars and fifty -eight cents; aggregate of horses, etc., 
one thousand nine hundred and twenty -seven dollars; aggregate of 
saddlery, seven hundred and thirty-two dollars and sixty-three 
cents; aggregate of arms and repairs, one thousand three hundred 
and nineteen dollars and sixty cents; aggregate of ammunition, 
eight hundred and twenty-seven dollars and twenty-one and one- 
half cents; transportation, creating Fort Gilliam included, five 
thousand two hundred and twenty dollars and forty-one and one- 
half cents; aggregate of subsistence, fourteen thousand four hun 
dred and twelve dollars and seventy-three and one-half cents; 
aggregate of ferryage, six hundred and eighty-three dollars and 
ninety-two cents; aggregate of medical department, three hundred 
and ninety-six dollars and seven cents; aggregate of commissary s 
assistants, agents, expenses, office rent, forage for volunteers horses, 
&c., one thousand one hundred and thirty-nine dollars and seven 
and one-half cents; aggregate of premium on cash payments, sev 
enty-four dollars and twenty-seven cents; aggregate of Indian 
agency, two hundred and fifty-four dollars and eighteen and one- 
half cents; aggregate of California expedition, five hundred and 
fifty-one dollars and seventy cents; aggregate of interest account, 
twenty -three dollars and sixty-nine cents; aggregate of smithing 


and saddle making, seven hundred and thirty-two dollars and 
sixty-three cents. Total liabilities adjusted, thirty-three thousand 
three hundred dollars and four and one-half cents. 

Unadjusted liabilities, when settled, to be added to their respective 
accounts : Merchandise (from caches), George Abernethy s account, 
Hudson s Bay Company s account ( a small balance ). Blacksmiths 
Jason Wheeler, Joseph W. Downer, W. T. Nanvoorst, David 

Weston, and J. M. Johns, days at dollars. Saddlers S. S. 

Duffield, J. R. Payne, and Wm. Martin, days at - - dollars. 
Commissary department A. E. Wait, J. D^Crawford, H. A. 
Smith, S. H. Goodhue, J. Keller, . Johnson, W. H. Rees, and J. 
Force, days at - - dollars. Quartermaster s department B. 
Jennings, C. W. Cooke, John Fleming, James Taylor, and A. A. 

Robinson, days at dollars. Ordnance A. C. R. Shaw, D. 

H. Lownsdale, and S. J. Gardner, days at dollars. Wagon- 
master Henry Wordeh, days at dollars. Total, dollars. 

Acting Commissary-General. 

B. Report of the commissary and quartermaster-generals, show 
ing the amount of disbursements in the commissary, quartermaster, 
and ordnance departments in the war between the territory of Ore 
gon and the Cayuse Indians, as per vouchers on file in this office : 
Amount paid for stationery, one dollar and twelve and one-half cents; 
ammunition, fifteen dollars and nine-five cents; camp equipage, 

dollars; arms and repairs, dollars; transportation, four hundred 

and thirty-seven dollars and seventy-seven cents; horse account, 
fifteen thousand four hundred and forty-four dollars ; merchan 
dise, four thousand two hundred and fifty -six dollars and eight 
cents; saddlery, - - dollars; subsistence, two thousand nine hun 
dred and forty-seven dollars and ninety-one and one -half cents; med 
ical department, - - dollars; California expedition, five hundred 
and fifty-one dollars and seventy cents. 

Total amount of cash received from loan commissioners, one 
thousand five hundred and twenty-five dollars and eighty-nine 
cents; deduct discount on sovereigns, five dollars and fifty -six cents. 
Total, one thousand five hundred and twenty dollars and thirty- 
three cents. Amount received from other sources for which com 
missary s duebills are issued, one thousand three hundred and sixty- 
four dollars and sixty-nine cents; total amount of cash received, two 
thousand eight hundred and eighty-five dollars and two cents; total 
amount of cash paid out per vouchers, 14 one thousand eight hundred 
and eleven dollars and fifteen and one-half cents; charged J. Palmer s 
private account, seventy-three dollars and eighty-six and one-half 

14 This amount, copied from the Oregon archives, is apparently an error. It should 
be two thousand eight hundred and eleven dollars and fifteen and one-half cents. 


cents. This department has drawn orders on the loan commission 
ers from number one to number two hundred and seven inclusive; 
cash included, sixteen thousand one hundred and twenty-seven dol 
lars and thirty-three and one-half cents; commissary due bills ( out 
standing) about five thousand three hundred and one dollars. The 
amount of subsistence when the returns are fully made will not be 
far from eleven thousand four hundred sixty-four dollars. There is 
remaining in the hands of the commissary-general the following : 
At Fort Wascopam 15 about sixty head of Spanish cattle; at Forts 
Wascopam and Waters about twenty -five horses; in the valley about 
forty head of cattle, eight or ten horses, six kegs powder, four large 
kegs powder, one box caps, four rifles, twenty-six muskets, one 
shotgun, lead, balls, shot, one tent, five sickles, ten hoes, four hand 
saws, one broadaxe, one adz, one fine saw, one crosscut saw, one 
spade, sixteen camp kettles, two frying pans, eight spoons, nine tin 
pans, ten plates, and three coffee pots. 

The several accounts of camp equipage, arms, and repairs, and 
saddling, owing to reports from proper officers not being full on 
those accounts, and the transactions of the disbursing officers are 
yet unsettled, renders it impossible to state the precise amount of 
articles lost and worn out in the service, consequently prevents at 
present being stated the amount paid by each. There are vouchers 
in this office covering the total amount of cash when added to the 
amount in hand. 

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant, 


On the sixteenth of February, 1849, Governor Aber- 
nethy approved an act passed by the provisional legisla 
ture, entitled "An act to provide for the final settlement 
of the claims against the Oregon government for and on 
account of the Cayuse war." The act appointed a board 
of commissioners, consisting of Thomas Magruder, Samuel 
Burch, and Wesley Shannon, whose duty it was to exam 
ine and adjust these claims; said commissioners to receive 
five dollars a day u for every day necessarily so employed," 
and to meet on the first Monday in every month, remaining 
in session " as long as there was any business before them ;" 
the last meeting to be held on the first Monday in the fol 
lowing November. 16 

w Fort Lee at The Dalles, 
is Oregon Archives, MS. 1050. 


Before November the new government had come in and 
the territorial legislature in August, 1849, passed another 
act "to provide for settling Cayuse war claim," and for an 
election by both houses of "a commissioner" 17 to investi 
gate all claims growing out of or pertaining to the Cayuse 
war; said commissioner to be allowed five dollars a day 
for each day he should be actually engaged in the dis 
charge of his duties, to be paid out of the territorial treas 
ury, and to hold office for one year. A. E. Wait was the 
commissioner elected. It was not expected that the busi 
ness of adj using these claims should be accomplished in 
one year, nor was it. 

A committee of the congress of the United States., moved 
by the eloquence of Samuel R. Thurston, the first territo 
rial delegate, agreed to appropriate one hundred thousand 
dollars wherewith to pay the expenses of the Cayuse war, 
Thurston telling his constituents that it was "that or noth 
ing," and indeed, considering the parsimony which had 
hitherto characterized the action of congress towards the 
Oregon people, this was a munificent sum ; but the inves 
tigations of Commissioner Wait convinced the legislature 
which met in December, 1850, that an additional fifty 
thousand would be required to extinguish the debt, as 
the following extract from a memorial from this legisla 
ture to congress gives evidence : 

It appears that he (the commissioner) has investigated, allowed, 
and certified claims against the late provisional government of Ore 
gon, after deducting all payments and offsets, the sum of seventy- 
six thousand eight hundred and thirty dollars and twenty-four 
cents. By the same it appears that his predecessor so audited the 
sum of ten thousand four hundred dollars and twenty-nine cents, 
making the total amount audited and certified by the present com 
missioner and his predecessor, eighty-seven thousand two hundred 
and thirty dollars and fifty-three cents. In his report the commis 
sioner estimates the probable expense of the war at one hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars. The debts due the several in 

dividuals, as ascertained and set forth in the commissioner s report, 
are for services rendered or material furnished by the citizens of this 

17 Oregon Archives, MS. 1052. 


territory, many of whom, by so doing, were left in a suffering con 
dition. Men left families depending on their daily labor for sub 
sistence, farmers turned their horses loose from the plough in the 
furrow and furnished them to the army for transportation. They 
have waited nearly three years, and received as yet no remunera 
tion. Your memorialists respectfully but firmly conceive that the 
expenses of the war should be borne by the nation at large ; that it 
was a war fought in self-defense for the United States by the people 
of this territory. The time has come when the men who spent 
their time, money, and property in the prosecution of that war 
should be remunerated. The territory is too weak to do it and meet 
the demands made upon her resources by her growing interests. To 
conclude, your memorialists respectfully but firmly pray your hon 
orable body, at your present session, to appropriate the sum esti 
mated by the commissioners on Cayuse war claims, according to 
the annexed report, to be expended, ( under the direction of the leg 
islature of this territory, or by such officer as congress may direct ) , 
in the payment of the expenses incurred by the late provisional 
government of Oregon in the Cayuse war. 18 

/ The first bill actually passed for the payment of the 
Cayuse war debt was for seventy-three thousand dollars, 
and in 1853-4 Hon. Joseph Lane concluded the business 
by securing an appropriation of seventy-five thousand 
dollars to pay the remaining expenses. Lane also secured 
the passage of a bill giving bounties to volunteers in any 
wars in which they had been regularly enrolled since 1790, 
which was intended to cover the Oregon Indian wars. 
Some private claims have been paid from time to time. 
There remained until the present decade only a bill for the 
relief of Captain Lawrence Hall s company, which was in 
the hands of Senator Mitchell, Captain William E. Birk- 
himer, United States army, having been designated to 
examine the accounts, who found in favor of their payment. 
The Cayuse war marked, and closed the existence of the 
provisional government of Oregon. As an example of the 
facility with which Americans organize and establish gov 
ernments or armies, it is one of the most interesting on 
record, and as an illustration in the main of the good 
points in American character it is noticeable. "When I 

" Oregon Archives, MS. 1044. 

! ; ERSI1* 


was about to start for Fort Colville with my company to 
escort the missionary families," says Major Magone, "I 
addressed my men, telling them that they were about to 
perform the duty of gentlemen toward refined Christian 
women, and I trusted that those ladies would be shocked by 
no word of profanity, or act of rudeness while under the 
company s care; and I never had occasion to reprove a 
man of them." Brave in the presence of the enemy, they 
could be gentle where gentleness was becoming. 





IT HAS been mentioned in the histor}^ of the Cayuse war 
that Lane, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs, 
was absent in southern Oregon during the trial of the In 
dian prisoners at Oregon City. The occasion of this ab 
sence was the conduct of the Rogue-river Indians towards 
white men traveling to and from the gold fields of north 
ern California. They had attacked a party in camp at 
Rock Point, and robbed them of their season s gains, as 
well as of all their other property, the men only escaping 
by fleeing to the woods. 

Other complaints, and the well-known rascalities of these 
Indians, led the superintendent to visit them, to change, if 
possible, this condition of travel on the California road. 
His party consisted of fifteen white men, and as many 
Klickitat Indians under their chief, Quatley. They over 
took and escorted some cattle drivers as far as the south 
bank of Rogue river, where Lane encamped, sending word 



to the Indians that he had come to make a treaty of peace 
and friendship, and desiring them to meet him unarmed. 
This proposition was accepted, and after a little delay two 
of the principal chiefs, with seventy-five warriors, arrived 
at camp. 

The reception being over, the visitors were arranged in 
a circle, with Lane and the chiefs in the center. But be 
fore the council had begun, another party as large as the 
first appeared, advancing upon the camp armed with bows 
and arrows. They were invited to lay down their arms 
and be seated ; and at the same time Lane, who had now 
to depend upon his keenness of sight and mind for the 
safety of his party, ordered Quatley, with two or three 
Klickitats inside the circle, to stand beside the head chief 
of the Rogue-rivers. 

Keeping a sharp lookout, and communicating with Quat 
ley only by flashes of the eye, Lane coolly proceeded to open 
the council, explaining that the object of his conference 
with them was to put a stop to their habitual robberies and 
murders of white men, to make travel through their coun 
try safe, and to make a treaty of friendship. If this could 
be affected, both white people and red would live in peace, 
and the lands settled upon by his race would be paid for 
by the government, whose agent would be sent to reside 
amongst them, and look after their interests. 

The answer to Lane s speech, which was interpreted by 
Quatley, was a brief address in stentorian tones by the 
head chief to his people, who sprang to their feet, raising 
the war cry, and displaying the few guns they had among 
them, besides their bows and arrows. Lane had his coun 
ter movement ready, Quatley being told to seize the chief 
and hold him with a knife at his throat. He then, with 
his revolver in hand, quickly advanced to the line of 
armed Indians, knocking up their guns, and ordering 
them to lay down their arms. The chief finding himself a 
prisoner within the embrace of three stout Klickitats, and 
a gory death awaiting him, seconded Lane s command to 


ground their arms. After a few minutes deliberation Lane 
ordered them to retire and return again in two days to a 
peace council, during which time he should hold their 
chief as a hostage; and sullenly they departed with a new 
view of the character of the white race, whom they were 
accustomed to see in the light of fleeing victims of their 
cupidity and barbarity. 

Lane s natural gallantry, love of adventure, and his fine 
courage made him particularly well adapted to deal with 
Indians. The morning following the captivity of the 
Rogue-river chief, his wife appeared on the bank of the 
river opposite the camp, and entreated to be allowed to 
join her lord. This was permitted, and Lane used the 
opportunity to impress upon the savage mind some of the 
higher sentiments of chivalry. In this he was so successful 
that before the two days were spent the proud chief re 
quested a further conversation. Having learned from the 
interpreter the name of his hero, he addressed him, "Mika 
name Jo Lane?" "Nawitka," said the one-time general. 
" Give your name to me," said the chief, " for I have seen 
no man like you." To this proposal Lane replied that he 
would give him half his name Jo by which monosyl 
labic appellation the Rogue-river chief was known from 
that day forward. 

The softening process having gone on for days, Lane 
presented to the mind of chief Jo the advantages of a 
treaty with the United States with such success that his 
propositions were accepted, even to the restoration of prop 
erty taken from the Oregonians passing through their 
country, minus the gold dust, which had been ignorantly 
poured into the river, and so become lost irrecoverably. 
By Jo s advice his people all consented to the terms of 
the treaty as drawn up by Lane, which they kept with 
tolerable honesty for that year. 

In order to prevent, as far as he could, a violation of the 
Indians rights under the treaty, papers were given to each 
member of the tribe present containing a written warn- 


ing, signed by his name, so that " Jo Lane" became a tal- 
esmanic word throughout the Rogue river and Shasta 
valleys. s 

Lane having learned that he was to be superseded by a 
whig governor, did not return to Oregon City, but pro 
ceeded south to the Shasta mines to dig gold, Chief Jo 
presenting him, on parting, with a mark of his esteem, in 
the shape of a Modoc boy for a slave. 

In 1850 congress passed an act extinguishing Indian 
titles west of the Cascade mountains, and the president 
immediately appointed as superintendent of Indian affairs, 
Anson Dart, who arrived in Oregon in October, together 
with P. C. Dart, his secretary. The sub-agents appointed 
were A. G. Henry, who failed to arrive at all; Elias Wam- 
pole, who did arrive; and H. H. Spalding, already on the 
ground. Twenty thousand dollars was appropriated and 
advanced to the superintendent with which he was to 
erect dwellings for himself and agents, and make presents 
to the Indians. 

A commission was also created, consisting of the newly 
appointed governor, John P. Gaines, Alonzo A. Skinner, 
and Beverly S. Allen, to make treaties with the Indians 
west of the Cascades. According to their instructions, the 
object of the government was to remove the complaint of 
the settlers that they could not acquire perfect titles to 
their lands before the Indian title was extinguished. For 
this cause they were to treat with the small tribes in the 
Wallamet valley first and separately. They were to decide 
what amount of money should be paid for the lands, and 
grant annuities not to exceed five per cent of the whole 
amount. They were advised not to pay the annuities in 
money, but to substitute such articles of use, of agricul 
ture, mechanics, and education as should to them seem 
best. If any surplus remained, goods might be purchased 
with that, to be delivered to the Indians. For this object 
twenty thousand dollars were appropriated, fifteen thou- 


sand of which was placed in the sub-treasury at San 
Francisco, subject to the order of Governor Gaines, the 
remainder being invested in goods, shipped around Cape 

The pay allowed the commissioners was eight dollars 
per diem; the pay of their secretary five. They were 
allowed the services of interpreters and servants, as many 
as desired, at such rates as they pleased, with their travel 
ing expenses, and a mileage of ten cents. The commis 
sioners did not get to work before April, 1851, and in a few 
weeks six treaties had been made with the fragments of 
tribes in the Wallamet valley, and the twenty thousand 
dollars expended, less about three hundred, which re 
mained, when information was received that congress had 
abolished Indian commissions, and placed the business of 
treaty making in the hands of the superintendent alone. 

Dart was now without money, and almost without help 
from sub-agents. Spalding, who had been assigned to the 
Umpquas, visited them but seldom, and his removal was 
asked for, E. A. Sterling being appointed in his place, but 
stationed at the mouth of the Columbia. In June the su 
perintendent paid a visit to the tribes east of the Cascades, 
finding them quiet, and promising them pay in the future 
for their lands. He found the Cayuses reduced by their 
misfortunes to a mere handful, the warriors among them 
numbering only thirty-six men. Here, on the Urnatilla, 
he selected a site for an agency ; and proceeded to visit the 
former mission stations of Waiilatpu and Lapwai to ascer 
tain the losses of the Presbyterians through the Cay use 
war. The cost of this expedition for employes was fifty 
dollars a day, in addition to transportation, which was 
four hundred dollars to The Dalles only, the superinten 
dent s salary, and other expenses. Transportation from 
The Dalles to Umatilla cost fifteen hundred dollars, be 
sides subsistence. A feast to the Cayuses cost eighty dol 
lars, and so on. The agency building erected on the 
Umatilla cost enormously, and was of little use, Wampole, 


who did not arrive in Oregon until July, being removed 
in less than three months for trading with the Indians. 
A number of sub-agents were appointed for different parts 
of the territory, who either did not accept, or were ineffi 
cient. The one who really understood Indians, and was 
of use in going among the wild tribes, was J. L. Parrish of 
the dismembered Methodist mission. 

The circumstances in which Dart found himself as su 
perintendent of Indian affairs for the whole territory of 
Oregon, both north and south of the Columbia river, and 
east and west of the Cascade range, were anything but 
condusive to peace of mind or personal comfort, and it 
would appear that he accomplished as much as under the 
same conditions any man could have been expected to do. 
In his report he gave it as his opinion that with the ex 
ception of the Snake and Rogue-river tribes, the Indians 
of Oregon were remarkably well disposed; but that to 
keep these savages in subjection troops should be stationed 
at certain points, and particular^ in the Snake-river coun 
try, through which the immigration must pass annually. 

What it was that about 1850 developed the war spirit in 
these Indians, formerly not more ill-behaved than all sav 
ages, was a subject of conjecture. Doubtless the passage 
through their country of large bodies of people unarmed, 
and having with them much property, was a temptation 
to them to steal, and robbery sometimes provoked punish-, 
ment. Blood once shed was the seed of a terrible harvest, 
as all Indian history proves. 

Many persons believed they could see, in the sudden 
disaffection of the (Snakes, the hand of the Latter-Day 
Saints, and certainly the evidence, though circumstantial, 
was strong against them. Others reasoned that the law 
forbidding the sale of ammunition to Indians in Oregon, 
which law the Hudson s Bay Company was compelled to 
respect, had destroyed that company s influence with the 
Indians, leaving them free to follow their own savage 
impulses. It might have been surmised that the Cayuse 


murderers, during their wanderings, had infected the 
Snakes with a spirit of hostility to Americans. 

A slight coloring seemed to be given to this theory by 
the behavior of the Snakes towards the Nez Perces, who 
had refused to join the Cayuses in a war against the 
Americans, they having been hostile to the Nez Perces 
ever since that period. Dart found the Nez Perces in 1851 
preparing to go to war against the Snakes, but persuaded 
them to wait another year for the United States to send 
troops into the country, when, if the troops had not arrived, 
he promised them they might fight. 

In the light of what happened afterwards, it would have 
been better to have allowed the Nez Perces to have fought 
and subdued the Snakes. For, in 1851, the immigration 
suffered the most fiendish outrages at the hands of these 
savages, who regarded not age, sex, or condition. Thirty- 
four persons were killed, many wounded, and eighteen 
thousand dollars worth of property taken by the Snakes 
while the immigration was passing. 

The road to California, traveled now continually, was 
more and more unsafe through all that region roamed 
over by the Shastas, Rogue-river tribes, and their allies. 
Notwithstanding the treaty entered into between Lane and 
the chief of the Rogue-rivers the previous year, great 
caution was necessary in selecting and guarding camping 
places and crossing streams. If a party wishing to cross 
a river constructed a ferryboat and left it tied up for the 
use of a party in the rear, the latter on arriving found it 
gone. While making another, guard had to be main 
tained, in spite of which their horses and pack animals 
were likely to be stampeded. When a part of their outfit 
was ferried over, guard must be maintained on both sides 
of the stream, dividing their force and increasing their 
peril. These annoyances and occasional conflicts led to 
irritation on the part of the miners, who, as they grew 
stronger, were less careful in their conduct towards the 



Indians, who were only too ready to find provocation in 
the contempt of white men. 

Finally, in May, contempt was turned into a desire for 
vengeance by the treacherous murder of David Dilley, one 
of a party of three white men, and two professedly friendly 
Rogue-rivers. While encamped for the night the Indians 
stealthily arose, seized Dilley s gun, and shot him dead as 
he slept. The other two white men, who were unarmed, 
escaped back to a party in the rear, and the news was 
sent to Shasta, where a company was formed, headed by 
one Long, who crossed the Siskiyous, killed two Indians, 
one a sub-chief, and took several prisoners as hostages for 
the delivery of the murderers. 

Demanding the surrender of the murderers was well 
enough, but the demand being accompanied or preceded 
by revenge, gave the head chief a plausible ground for 
refusing to give up the guilty parties. Further, he threat 
ened to destroy Long s company, which remained at the 
crossing of Rogue river awaiting the turn of events. He 
was not molested, but at a ferry south of this one, several 
skirmishes occurred. One party of twenty- six men was 
attacked June first, and an Indian killed in the encounter. 
On the day following, at the same place, three several 
parties were set upon and robbed, one of which lost four 
men in the skirmish. 

On the third, Dr. James McBride and thirty-one men 
returning from the mines, were attacked in camp south of 
Rogue river. There were but seventeen guns in the party, 
while the Indians were two hundred strong, and had in 
addition to their bows and arrows about as many firearms. 
They were led by a chief known as Chucklehead, the battle 
commencing at daybreak and lasting four hours and a 
half, or until Chucklehead w r as killed, when the Indians 
withdrew. No loss of life or serious wounds were sustained 
by the white men, but about sixteen hundred dollars worth 
of property and gold dust was secured by the Indians, 
who it was believed lost some men who were carried off 


the field. Those of McBride s party who were mentioned 
by him for their bravery in the fight, were A. Richardson 
of San Jose, California, James Barlow, Captain Turpin, 
Jesse Dodson and son, Aaron Payne, Dillard Holman, 
Jesse Runnels, Presley Lovelady, and Richard Sparks of 

This affair, following on the heels of those of the first 
and second, showed the gravity of the situation. Oregon 
was threatened with another Indian war indeed it was 
already begun. It happened, however, that the govern 
ment was just on the point of carrying out Thurston s 
rejection of the mounted rifle regiment, which was depart 
ing in divisions overland for California, and thence to 
Jefferson barracks, the first division having taken up the 
march in April, and the last, under Major Kearney, in 

Kearney was moving slowly southward exploring for a 
road that should avoid the Umpqua canon, when at the 
north end of the pass he was met by the information that 
the Rogue-river Indians were engaged in active hostilities, 
and were massing their fighting men at the stronghold of 
Table Rock, twenty miles east of the crossing of Rogue 
river. He pushed on with a detachment of only twenty- 
eight men, but a heavy rain had raised the streams on his 
route and otherwise impeded his progress, so that it was 
the seventeenth of June before he reached the river at a 
point five miles below Table Rock. Discovering signs of 
Indians, he ordered his command to fasten their sabers to 
their saddles, that they should not by their noise apprise 
the Indians of their approach, and dividing his force, sent 
a part of it up the south side under Captain Walker to in 
tercept any Indians who might escape him, while the re 
mainder, under Captain James Stuart, advanced on the 
north side, hoping to surprise the Indians. 

He found the Indians quite prepared and expecting an 
attack. His men dismounted in such haste that they left 
their sabers tied to their saddles, and made a dash upon 


the enemy, killing eleven Indians and wounding others. 
But Captain Stuart, who was engaged in a personal con 
test with a large Indian, whom he finally laid prostrate, 
was shot through the kidneys by an arrow aimed by his 
fallen foe, and died the following day. Captain Peck and 
one of the troopers were wounded in the skirmish, which 
was all the loss sustained by Kearney s command. The 
detachment fell back, crossing the river near the mouth of 
a stream coming in from the south, where camp was made, 
and where the brave young Captain Stuart died, lament 
ing that it had not been his fate to have fallen in battle in 
Mexico and not in the wilderness by the hand of a sav 
age. Here he was buried and the earth above him so 
trodden that his grave could not be discovered. From 
this incident in Oregon s early history Stuart creek re 
ceived its name. 

The Indians had fallen back to their natural fortifica 
tion at Table Rock, which is a flat-topped promontory 
overhanging Rogue river, from which observations could 
be taken of the whole valley, and any approach signaled. 
Finding that his force was too small to attack this position, 
Kearney remained in camp several days, waiting for a de 
tachment in his rear with Lieutenants Williamson and 
Irvine to come up, and the arrival of volunteer companies 
being hastily formed in the mines. 

The news of the outbreak had sped as fast as horsemen 
could carry it to Oregon City. But Governor Gaines was 
powerless to send an army into the field, no provision hav 
ing been made by the territorial legislature for the organi 
zation of the militia. Pie could only write to the president 
that troops were needed in Oregon, where Oregon s dele 
gate had declared they were not needed. Having dis 
charged this duty, he set out for the seat of war without 
even a military escort. At Applegate s place in the Ump- 
qua valley he endeavored to raise a company which might 
act as escort and join the force in the field, but found that 
most of the men able to bear arms already gone, and was 


forced to wait until the last of the month before he could 

In the interim, between the seventeenth and the twenty- 
third, Jesse Applegate, who had been with Kearney ex 
ploring for a new and better road through the Umpqua 
country, and ex-Governor Lane, who had just been elected 
delegate to congress, were in the recruiting service. Ap 
plegate had been unable to remain where Kearney had 
left him, and had drifted down on his crusade to the ferry 
on Rogue river when he met a company of miners return 
ing from Josephine creek, and going to Yreka. To these 
he suggested that they might be of service in assisting the 
regulars and volunteers, already at that time assembling. 
Thirty men of this company proceeded to Willow springs, 
where they waited to be called on to join the regulars, or 
to be used to intercept the Indians, who it was thought 
would flee before the troops in this direction. 

Lane s election being secured, he was returning to the 
gold fields of Shasta to look after his mining interests be 
fore he should set sail for Washington, and had arrived at 
the Umpqua canon on the twenty-first, where he first 
heard, from a party traveling north, of the battle of the 
seventeenth, and the death of Captain Stuart. With his 
party of about forty men he pushed on, and by the night 
of the twenty-second had reached the foot of Rogue-river 
mountains, where he was met by an express rider who in 
formed him that Kearney would make a march that night 
with the intention of striking the Indians at break of day 
on the twenty-third. 

Governed by this news he set out early on the morning 
of the twenty-third to join Kearney, but failed to discover 
him, though he rode hard all day; and the next day he 
fell back to Camp Stuart to wait for further intelligence. 
During the evening G. W. T Vault and Levi Scott, with a 
party from Kearney s command, came in for supplies, and 
with them Lane returned, riding until two o clock in the 
morning, his arrival being joyfully welcomed by regulars 
and volunteers to the army. 


He then learned that there had been a skirmish on the 
morning of the twenty-third at Table Rock, and a four 
hours battle in the afternoon, the Indians having the ad 
vantage of a wooded eminence where they had erected a 
breastwork of logs; and the attacking force the advantage 
of superior arms. The morning s fight had been a sur 
prise, and lasted but a quarter of an hour, during which, 
says J. A. Card well, whose party was at Willow springs, 
" there was a terrible yelling and crying by the Indians, 
and howling of dogs." 1 

The afternoon s battle was a determined fight, in which 
the InSians suffered severely, and several white men were 
wounded. The Indians had not yet learned to shoot with 
accuracy with their few guns, but chief Jo boasted that 
he could "keep a thousand arrows in the air continually." 
the ping and sting of which were very annoying, even 
when not deadly. Further, when Kearney proposed mak 
ing a treaty, the proud savages challenged him to fresh 
combat, for which, indeed, he had not much stomach. 
Chasing naked savages up and down hills and through 
wooded ambushes had nothing in it alluring to the fighter 
of real battles. 

It was, however, Kearney s intention to attack the 
Indians again on the morning of the twenty -fifth, but 
when daylight came they had abandoned their fortifica 
tions and escaped down the river. The pursuit was 
eagerly taken up, the trail being found to cross the river 
seven miles below Table Rock. Following it up Sardine 
creek, the fugitives were overtaken, but when discovered 
separated; the warriors fleeing to cover in the forest, leav 
ing their women and children to be captured and cared 
for by the troops, who, after scouring the country for two 
days, returned to Camp Stuart with thirty prisoners. 

1 This account is taken from a dictation by J. A. Cardwell of Ashland, and from 
letters by General Lane and Jesse Applegate. The names of Waldo, Boone, Lame- 
rick, Armstrong, Hunter, Rust, Blanchard, Simonson, Scott, and Colonel Tranor 
appear in these letters. Tranor was James W. of New Orleans, a brilliant writer, 
who was killed by Indians on Pit river at a later date. 


During the pursuit Lane had been recognized by the 
chiefs, whom he had met in council the previous } r ear, who 
declaimed to him in stentorian tones across the river, 
complaining that white men on horseback had invaded 
their country, riding about freely everywhere; that they 
were afraid to lie down to sleep lest these intruding 
strangers should be upon them. Lane reminded them 
that on account of their conduct the intruders themselves 
enjoyed few opportunities for peaceful rest, and reproached 
them for breaking their treaty, on which they declared 
themselves tired of war and longing for peace. But Lane 
was no longer in his official capacity responsible for trea 
ties, and Kearney, whose march to Ben cia had so long 
been interrupted, would consent to no further delay, but 
in a few days took up the trail, carrying with him his 
thirty prisoners, there being no place of confinement in 
southern Oregon where they could be left, nor responsible 
men willing to escort them to the headquarters of the 
superintendent of Indian affairs. 

He had not proceeded far when he met Lane about 
returning from a hasty visit to Shasta, and who, seeing 
Kearney s embarrassment, proposed himself to take charge 
of the prisoners, and deliver them either to Governor 
Gaines or the superintendent. This offer was gladly 
accepted, it being agreed that the prisoners should not be 
delivered up until they had consented to a permanent 
treaty of peace. The transferance of the captive women 
and children was accomplished by the aid of Lieutenant 
Irvine, who was attached to Williamson s topographical 
expedition in connection with the Pacific railroad surveys 
of the government, and Captain Walker of Kearney s 

Having assumed the safe conduct of the prisoners, Lane 
at once proceeded north, and on the seventh of July de 
livered his charge to the governor, who had at last reached 
Rogue river, but only to find the troops gone, and not an 
Indian within reach. By means of the prisoners delivered 


to him by Lane, he induced eleven of the head men and 
one hundred of their followers to consent to a treaty by 
which the Indians agreed to submit to the jurisdiction and 
accept the protection of the United States, and to restore 
the property stolen from white people. These treaty- 
makers belonged to what might be called the peace party 
in Rogue-river Indian politics, a party which came into 
power whenever the war party sustained a defeat at the 
hands of white people, for several years in the history of 
Rogue-river valley. In return for their promise of sub 
mission they received back their captive families, whom 
no doubt the governor was pleased to be rid of. As an 
Indian s word was no better than it should be, the governor, 
when he returned to Oregon City, recommended that an 
agent should be sent among them, supplemented by a 
small military force. Thus ended the first military cam 
paign in Rogue-river valley. 

While these affairs occupied the attention of the few 
white people in the interior of southern Oregon, their 
brethren on the coast were having also their introduction 
to savage hostilities. 

About the first of June, the Seagull, Captain William 
Tichenor, looking for a port south of the Columbia river 
whence the mails and miners supplies might be trans 
ported to the valleys of western Oregon, put a party of 
nine men ashore in the bay now known as Port Orford, 
and there left them, intending to reenforce them on the 
next trip of the steamer. They were supplied with provis 
ions and arms, and were placed on a high point sloping 
towards the sea, with a four-pound cannon for defense in 
case of attack. 

While the steamer remained in port the natives appeared 
friendly, but when the nine men were left alone in their 
midst, the temptation to despoil them of whatever they 
possessed proved greater than could be bbrne. At the end 
of two days they collected in force, held a war dance, and 


advanced upon the temporary fortification. In vain the 
captain of the little company, J. M. Kirkpatrick, by ex 
pressive gestures, motioned them away, and even threat 
ened them. They were unacquainted with firearms, and 
relied upon numbers, so they kept on crowding up the 
slope, and becoming every moment more annoying, until 
finally they began seizing the arms of the men. At this 
motion Kirkpatrick touched off the cannon, which made 
a vacancy where before had been a crowd, and created a 
panic where before had been boasting. A few arrows were 
let fly, but the besieged, by firing with sure aim, succeeded 
in bringing to the ground several warriors, after which 
they fought hand to hand with clubbed guns. This ener 
getic reception convinced the attacking party that more 
"medicine" would be required before they could subdue 
the nine white strangers, and they retired, but only to 
reappear after a day or two to hold another war dance. 

Upon reviewing their numbers and their situation, with 
out the hope of reenforcement for some time, and with an 
insufficient supply of ammunition for a protracted siege, 
the unanimous opinion of the Port Orford company was 
that flight would give them a chance for their lives, while 
to remain was to yield up all hope, as the savages would 
finally conquer by mere numbers and persistence. They 
therefore quietly abandoned the place, and by traveling- 
nights along the beach, and hiding in the woods by day, 
reached the settlements near the mouth of the Umpqua 
river, famished, suffering, and exhausted, where they were 
kindly cared for. 

When Captain Tichenor returned to Port Orford with a 
company of forty settlers, finding the place deserted, and 
giving evidences of a hard struggle, he was greatly 
alarmed. His alarm became conviction, when an unfin 
ished diary, picked up on the ground where the camp of 
the first party had stood, was found to contain an inter 
rupted account of a battle with the Indians. The sup 
posed massacre of th 3 party was published in California 


and Oregon, and much excitement followed. The reen- 
forcement remained, however, and was farther increased 
until the Port Orford settlers numbered seventy, well 
armed, and able 1o repulse Indian assaults. 

In August the whole colony felt itself strong enough to 
venture upon an exploring expedition to discover the de 
sired route to the mines and settlements in the interior, 
and a party of twenty-three men, led by W. G. T Vault, 
who had recently been in southern Oregon, set out upon 
this service on the twenty-fourth of the month, with horses 
and pack animals. Their course lay south to Rogue river. 
During the march the natives they met were few and shy, 
until they came to the river, when they made some hos 
tile demonstrations, but were intimidated by seeing guns 
pointed at them into keeping a safe distance. By care in 
selecting camping grounds, burning off the high grass for 
some distance about them, and doubling guard, the party 
avoided a collision with the savages. 

On the first of September, a majority of the company 
being wearied and dissatisfied with the outlook, deter 
mined to abandon the expedition and return to Port Or 
ford; only ten men, including their leader, being resolved 
to go forward. After nine days of wandering, misled by 
the northward trend of the ridges they were compelled to 
follow, they found themselves on the head waters of a 
stream apparently debouching to the north of Point Or 
ford, and therefore probably the Coquille. 

Worn with travel, with only one hunter in the party, on 
whose success depended their subsistence, and their horses 
being unable to penetrate the jungle of the river bottom, 
it was decided that the only course remaining to them was 
to trust themselves to the Indian canoes with their native 
owners. Abandoning their horses they secured the ser 
vices of some natives and their canoes, to take them to 
the mouth of the river. Instead of doing what was ex 
pected of them, the Indians landed the party at the Co 
quille village whose inhabitants seemed to be awaiting 


them, for no sooner were the canoes run on to the sands 
than their occupants were surrounded and fighting for the 
possession of their arms and lives. Hundreds of naked 
warriors, armed with bows and arrows, war clubs, and 
long knives made of band iron from a wrecked vessel, 2 
assailed them on every side. 

The assault was so sudden, and attended with such con 
fusion of sounds, yells, cries, and blows that defense was 
nearly impossible. T Vault afterwards said that the first 
thing he was aware of was that he was in the river swim 
ming. Not far from him was one of his men, Gilbert 
Brush, an Indian in a canoe standing over him, and beat 
ing his head with a paddle, the water about him being 
crimsoned with blood. 

While he looked he saw a canoe shoot out from shore, in 
which stood an Indian boy who beat off Brush s tor m enter 
and assisted the wounded man into his boat; then picking 
up T Vault, handed him his paddle, and flinging himself 
into the water, swam back to the village. T Vault and 
Brush on landing divested themselves of their sodden cloth 
ing, 3 and plunged into the forest. T Vault was not badly 
wounded, but Brush was partly scalped and very much 
bruised. They were on the south side of the river, and 
their hope was in reaching Port Orford. By traveling all 
night along the beach they came to Cape Blanco, where 
the natives received them in a friendly manner, protecting 
and feeding them and conveying them in their canoes to 
Port Orford. 

As to the remainder of the ill-fated party, five were mas 
sacred and three escaped. L. L. Williams of Vermont, a 
pioneer of Ashland; T. J. Davenport, then a young man 
from Massachusetts, and Cyrus Heddeii from Newark, New 
Jersey, were the survivors. Patrick Murphy of New York, 
A. S. Dougherty of Texas, John P. Holland of New Hamp- 

2 The Hagstaff, wrecked in Rogue river. 

3 In T Vault s account he does not tell us why he left off his clothing whether as 
a bribe to the Indians not to pursue them, or because they were heavy with water, 
probably the latter. 


shire, Jeremiah Ryland of Maryland, and J. P. Pepper of 
New York, were the victims. 4 The three who escaped made 
their way to the Umpqua, where they were kindly cared 
for, 5 making the third party, which, wounded and famished, 
had reached this settlement during the summer from the 
south. 6 

The persons interested in Port Orford continued to 
explore for some time, vainly, for a road to the interior, 
and to represent the superior advantages of the harbor, 

4 Alta Californian, October 14, 1851. 

5 Williams narrative of his flight and plight exceeds in interest the famous one of 
Samuel Coulter. He was attacked as he stepped ashore by two powerful savages, 
who endeavored to seize his rifle. This being accidentally discharged frightened 
them away for a moment, giving him an opportunity to attempt to force his way 
through the swarm of dusky demons who sought to arrest his flight or to possess 
themselves of his gun. What with this attempt, and having to use it as a club, 
there was soon nothing left of it but the naked barrel. But he was young, strong, 
and fleet of foot, and though once felled to the ground, succeeded in fighting himself 
free from the crowd and escaping towards the forest. As he ran across the open 
ground, an arrow struck him in the left side below the ribs, penetrating the abdomen 
and bringing him to a sudden stop. Finding that he could not take a step, he quickly 
drew out the shaft, which broke off, one joint of its length with the barb being left 
in his body. In his excitement he was unconscious of any pain, and ran on with, 
for a while, a dozen Indians in pursuit, the number finally dwindling down to two, 
who took turns in shooting arrows at him. Being in despair of escaping and irritated 
by their persistence, he turned pursuer, but when he ran after one, the other shot at 
him from behind. At this critical moment the suspenders of his pantaloons gave 
way, letting them fall about his feet, compelling him to stop to kick them off. At 
the same time his eyes and mouth were filled with blood from a wound on his head; 
and, as blind and despairing he turned towards the forest, he fell headlong. This 
was a signal for his pursuers to rush upon him. In the hands of the foremost one 
was a gun which he attempted to fire, and failed. Says Williams in his narrative : 
The sickening sensations of the last half hour were at once dispelled when I realized 
that the gun had refused to fire. I was on my feet in a moment, rifle barrel in hand. 
Instead of running I stood firm, and the Indian with the rifle also met me with it, 
drawn by the breech. The critical moment of the whole affair had arrived, and I 
knew it must be the final struggle. My first two or three blows failed utterly, and I 
received some severe bruises ; but fortune was on my side, and a lucky blow given 
with unusual force fell upon my antagonist, killing him almost instantly. I seized 
the gun, a sharp report followed, and I had the satisfaction of seeing my remaining 
pursuer stagger and fall dead." Williams then, expecting to die, lay down in the 
woods, but was discovered by Hedden, who was uninjured, and who, with the 
assistance of some friendly Umpquas brought him in six days to the Umpqua river, 
where the brig Almira, Captain Gibbs, was lying, which took the refugees to 
Gardiner. The wound in Williams abdomen discharged for a year; but it was four 
years before the arrow-head worked out, and seven years before the broken shaft 
was expelled. 

6 One of the three was of the crew of the pilot boat Hagstaff, which was wrecked 
by Rogue-river Indians, the captain and his men narrowly escaping by fleeing to the 
woods where they wandered for three weeks before being rescued by the settlers on 
the Umpqua. 


being aided in their .enterprise by the reports of govern 
ment officials, who knew very little about the merits of 
the place which received their endorsement. Such in 
fluences were brought to bear upon the commander of the 
Pacific division, that, with Kearney s account of Indian 
affairs in Rogue-river valley, he was persuaded to with 
draw Lieutenant Kantz with his company of twenty men 
stationed at Astoria, where they were of no service, and 
send them to Port Orford, which was ignorantly supposed 
to be a proper location for a garrison to hold in check the 
Indians of the valley. It was even represented to General 
Hitchcock that the distance from Port Orford to Camp 
Stuart was only thirty-five miles, whereas it was more 
nearly eighty in a direct line, the necessary meanderings 
making it about one hundred. 

So far, then, as Kantz s command could be of use to the 
miners, it was none; nor was it large enough to be of use 
anywhere in an Indian country, except as a sample of 
what might be sometime furnished in a larger quantity. 
By the steamer Seagull, which left Portland September 
twelfth, at which time T Vault s party was wandering in 
the forest on the head waters of the Coquille, the superin 
tendent of Indian affairs, with his agents, Parrish and 
Spalding, took passage for Port Orford with the intention 
of making a treaty with the coast tribes. They arrived on 
the fourteenth, the day on which the massacre on the 
Coquille river took place, and two days afterwards T Vault 
and Brush made their appearance with the story of their 
misfortunes and marvelous escape through the compassion 
of the Cape Blanco natives. 

The superintendent found himself in an embarrassing 
position. He had come to treat for peace and friendship, 
to sue for which under the circumstances was to humiliate 
the people he represented. Nor was he able to appear in 
the role of an avenger, with only a squad of twenty men 
under a young lieutenant at his back. In this dilemma 
he found Parrish, who had a better knowledge of Indian 


character than himself, a valuable assistant. The Cape 
Blanco Indians were by him persuaded to undertake 
finding out what had been the fate of the missing members 
of T Vault s party. To accomplish this two Indian women 
were sent on a visit to the Coquilles, who succeeded in 
learning the particulars of the affair, and who buried the 
bodies of the five men who were killed at the village. It 
was believed by them that some had escaped alive. 

Several days were spent in considering what was best to 
be done, and, at length, on the twenty-second of Septem 
ber, Parrish set out for the Coquille, accompanied only by 
a man of the Tototem tribe on the Columbia river, who 
had been stolen from the Coquilles when a child. An 
escort which was offered was rejected. Says Parrish: "I 
said to Dr. Dart, I want nothing but this Coquille Indian, 
a pony, ten pounds of bread, some salmon, three brilliant 
red blankets, thirty yards of calico of the gayest colors, 
and some tobacco. " 7 

Arriving on the evening of the second day near the 
mouth of the Coquille, he fell in with one of the tribe, and 
found that his interpreter had not forgotten his native 
tongue. Remaining on the beach he sent his interpreter 
with the Indian to the Coquille village, telling him to 
spend the night there if he chose, but to invite the three 
principal chiefs to visit his camp at nine o clock the next 
morning, unarmed, at the same time presenting each of 
them with a red blanket, a square of calico, and some 

As he had hoped, these gifts were sufficient to induce 
the chiefs to meet him, and they were received with a 
hand-shake and a present of more tobacco. But they had 
no sooner concluded the ceremonials of greeting than 
twenty or more stalwart fellows appeared, armed with 
bows and arrows, and the long knives before mentioned, 
the interpreter conducting them. It looked like treachery, 
and gave the agent a few quicker heart-beats, but he sub- 

7 Parrish s Oregon Anecdotes, MS. 56. 


dued any tendency to nervousness, and giving his hand to 
each, with a little tobacco, invited them to be seated in a 
circle, in the middle of which he placed himself and his 

Two hours were spent in explaining to them his purpose 
in coming to them, which was to make them the friends 
of the white people at Port Orford, who had established 
themselves there with the intention of remaining. He, 
as representative of the Port Orford people, had come to 
talk with them, and would be glad if some of them would 
return with him, and see his friends for themselves. At 
first it seemed as if a few would go, but their hearts failing 
them they finally withdrew their consent. A feast of 
boiled salmon and bread was next resorted to; after which 
pieces of calico were given to each warrior, and a red silk 
sash from Parrish s own person to the head chief, who, in 
return, presented as a token of friendship a sea-otter skin. 
But he was unable to induce any of the Coquilles to put 
themselves in the power of the white people. Thus failed 
the first attempt to treat with the Coquilles. 

Before leaving Oregon City for Port Orford, Superintend 
ent Dart had, on learning that the informal treaty made 
by Governor Gaines with the Rogue-rivers had been viola 
ted, a number of murders and robberies having been com 
mitted, sent word to these Indians to meet him at Port 
Orford. Now, if there is one thing more than another that 
an Indian will not do, it is to invade the territory of a 
neighboring tribe with whom he is not allied, except for 
purposes of hostility, and that Dart should have known. 
That he did not know the distance or the difficulty of 
communication was not singular, when it is remembered 
that the Port Orford company published it as thirty-five 
miles. However that may be, the Indians were more irri 
tated than tranquilized by the superintendent s message to 
them. The whole number of murders committed by the 
Rogue-rivers during the summer of 1851 was thirty-eight, 


and the property taken was very considerable in amount. 
A. A. Skinner, who, after the abolishment of the treaty 
commission, was retained as Indian agent, held confer 
ences with different bauds in the Rogue-river country and 
secured professions of friendship by making presents, but 
that was all. 

When General Hitchcock received information in Sep 
tember of the massacre on the Coquille, he ordered a 
military force transferred to Port Orford. This force con 
sisted of companies E and A, first dragoons, dismounted, 
and company C with their horses. It was officered by 
Lieutenant -Colonel Casey of the second infantry, and 
Lieutenants Stanton, Thomas Wright, and George Stone- 
man. The dismounted men arrived at Port Orford Octo 
ber twenty-second, and the mounted company on the 
twenty-seventh. Their errand was to punish the Coquilles. 
On the thirty-first, they commenced their march to the 
mouth of the Coquille, finding the greatest difficulty in 
getting horses, baggage, and even men over the rough and 
slippery trail along the beach, but arriving at the river on 
the third of November, guided by Brush, survivor of the 
massacre. Camp was made, and preparations entered into 
for a campaign. 

The troops had not long to wait before discovering the 
temper of the natives. Lieutenant Wright having care 
lessly wandered away from camp was met by a single 
warrior, who struggled with him for possession of his gun, 
and was- shot for his temerity. On the fifth, the Indians 
gathered on the north side of the river and challenged the 
troops to combat. In addition to their bows and arrows, 
and their rude swords, they carried now the arms taken 
from T Vault s party, consisting of fourteen shooting arms, 
many of them repeating, 8 which in the sudden violence of 
the attack had been captured on the memorable fourteenth 
of September. 

8 Eight rifles, one musket, one double-barreled pistol, one Sharp s thirty-six shoot 
ing rifle, one Colt s six-shooter, one brace holster pistol, with ammunition. 


The two forces fired at each other across the river with 
out doing any harm ; and as soon as a raft could be con 
structed, which was not until the seventh, the main body 
of the troops crossed to the north side, Colonel Casey with 
Stanton and the mounted men remaining on the south 
side. In this order they proceeded up the valley of the 
Coquille in a cold rain, pursuing as best they might the 
ever elusive enemy, marching for several days alternately 
through swamps and over wooded hills, scrambling 
through thickets by day, and lying down in wet blankets 
by night, finding nothing on their route but deserted vil 
lages on which to wreck their constantly accumulating 
wrath, and which they made a point of destroying. 

After a few days of this useless pursuing, Casey returned 
to the mouth of the river, and changed the plan of his 
operations. He sent to Port Orford for three small boats, 
which were brought overland. Into these he crowded 
sixty men, so packed together that if they had met the 
enemy they could not have used their arms. But no 
enemy appeared while the flotilla proceeded for four days 
up the river to the junction of the north and south forks, 
where, on the twentieth, the weather remaining very in 
clement and the current in the river being strong, the 
troops were disembarked. 

On the twenty-first, Stoneman was detailed to proceed 
up the south branch with one boat and fourteen men, and 
Wright with a similar force was sent up the north branch. 
About seven miles up the south fork the Indians were dis 
covered in force on both banks. After firing a few shots 
Stoneman returned and reported their position. Wright, 
who had found no Indians, although he had penetrated 
much further into the wilderness, also returned to camp; 
and on the twenty-second the united forces set out for the 
Indian encampment, the troops marching up the right 
bank, two boats only with ten men preceding them. 
Great caution was observed, one company crossing to the 
left bank half a mile below the village, and all advancing 



in silence to the point of attack. To surprise an Indian 
camp which had been notified of the neighborhood of 
an enemy was an impossibility. The boats, however, 
served as a decoy, and the Indians were gathered on the 
bank of the stream to oppose the landing of the white 
men, as was expected, when Casey and Wright dashed 
among them. Stoneman, from the opposite shore, was 
employed in picking off those who could be reached, and 
for about twenty minutes the battle raged hotly, fifteen 
Indians being killed, and many wounded. The reports of 
the affair make no mention of any white men killed or 
injured. 9 The Indians fled to the woods, and the troops 
returned to camp at the mouth of the river, and after a 
few days to Port Orford, where a garrison was erected of 
log buildings about half a mile from the town. Early in 
December Casey s command returned by sea to San Fran 
cisco, and the government had a bill of twenty-five thou 
sand dollars to pay, for moving troops, horses, and supplies 
by the steamers of the Pacific Mail Company, was a costly 
affair in 1851. 

In January, 1852, however, the schooner Captain Lin 
coln, Naghel master, was chartered to carry troops, under 
Lieutenant Stanton, and military stores to supply the new 
post called Fort Orford. A heavy fog prevailing, the vessel 
went ashore on a sandy point two miles north of the en 
trance to Coos bay, where by good fortune the troops and 
cargo were safely landed, if it could be supposed that a 
mere wind-swept sandspit was land. The men contrived 
to shelter themselves under sails stretched on booms and 
spars, where they spent four months guarding the stores 
from the pilfering fingers of the natives who found en 
trance to " Camp Castaway." 

An effort was immediately made to explore a trail to 
Fort Orford, over which a pack train could be sent to their 

9 The writer of the letter from which the above account was taken was drowned 
in Sixes river before his letter was finished : Alia Californian, December 14, 1851. 


relief, twelve dragoons being assigned to this duty. The 
detachment carried dispatches for San Francisco, and was 
instructed to wait at Fort Orford for the answer; but the 
captain of the mail steamer, which carried the answer, 
and also Quartermaster Miller, under an agreement to stop 
at Port Orford, being new to the coast mistook Rogue river 
entrance for this port, and being alarmed at his error, pro 
ceeded direct to the Columbia with the quartermaster, who 
did not reach his destination until the twelfth of April. 
He then took a train of mules from Port Orford to Camp 
Castaway over the trail opened in January, and which was 
found to be a most trying one, consuming four days in the 
fifty miles of travel. 

Miller proceeded to the Urnpqua, where he found the 
schooner Nassau, which he chartered, and brought round 
to Coos bay, this being the first vessel to enter this harbor. 
The brig Fawn soon after arrived at the Umpqua with 
wagons for the quartermaster s department, and the mules 
were sent to haul them down the beach to Camp Casta 
way, where they were loaded with the shipwrecked cargo, 
which was thus transported across some miles of sand 
dunes to Coos bay and taken on board the Nassau for Port 
Orford, where they arrived May twentieth. Such were 
some of the difficulties of Indian warfare in this wild 
region of perilous coast, rough and steep hills, forests and 
morasses, interspersed with spots of Eden-like beauty. 

It is only necessary to add to this picture of the situa 
tion that no road to the valley was yet opened. But, on 
finding that dragoons could be of no service in the Co- 
quille county, Casey detached Stanton from his command 
to escort Lieutenant Williamson of the topographical en 
gineers in the winter of 1851-52, while exploring for a 
practicable route; and in the autumn of the latter year 
one was surveyed out and opened. In the meantime, Fort 
Orford was garrisoned by twelve dragoons under Lieuten 
ant Stanton and twenty artillerymen under Lieutenant 
Wyman, neither of any use in pursuing Indians in the 


coast mountains, had their numbers been sufficient; and 
utterly useless to protect miners or settlers in the interior. 

A more intimate acquaintance had not led to a feeling 
of confidence between the white and red races in southern 
Oregon. The conditions of Indian warfare here were 
somewhat different from those of the Cayuse war. Less 
intelligent than the Cayuses, they were not less brave. 
Having nothing of their own, they were the more covetous 
of the possessions of others. Lacking a knowledge of any 
law, human or divine, except the law implanted by nature 
in the beginning of people "an eye for an eye, and a 
tooth for a tooth," they were quick to find offenses and 
ready to avenge them. Without feeling under moral 
obligations to keep faith with others, they were ready to 
resent any appearance of duplicity in the superior race, of 
whom they were unavoidably jealous. On the other hand, 
the human nature in white men was apt to come to the 
surface after a few losses of property, or of friends, or 
both. Therefore, the peace which had been purchased 
with presents by agent Skinner in the autumn of 1851 
was not lasting. 

The Shasta and Rogue-river Indians were one nation, 
divided under several chiefs, whose followers ranged 
certain districts. For instance, Tolo was the head of the 
band living in the country about Yreka; Scarface and 
Bill in Shasta valley ; John in Scott valley, arid Sam and 
Jo in Rogue-river valley, John s father having once been 
head chief over all. There were besides these, two chiefs 
living at the foot of the Siskiyous, on the north side, 
namely, Tipso, or the "Hairy," from his having a heavily 
bearded face, and Sullix, the " Bad Tempered." Both of 
these chiefs were very hostile to white men, and even 
fought other bands of their own nation. 

Troubles began on the north side of Rogue river by the 
robbery of a citizen of the Wallamet valley in the Grave 
creek hills. Then came an attack on a party of five pros- 


pectors led by James Coy, at the mouth of Josephine 
creek in the Illinois valley. One man>scaped from camp, 
and fled to Jacksonville for aid, while the remaining four 
defended a slight fortification for two days, or until a party 
of thirty-five miners came to their relief. These pros 
pectors had discovered the remains of recently murdered 
men before they were attacked. This was in April. 

On the eighth of April, Calvin Woodman was murdered 
by Scarface, on a tributary of the Klamath. The miners 
and settlers of Shasta and Scott valleys arrested John, the 
head chief, and demanded the surrender of Scarface, and 
of Bill as accessory, but John refused and escaped. The 
miners then organized, and in a fight with the Indians 
which ensued, the sheriff was wounded and several horses 
killed. This collision did not tend to mend matters, and 
the Indians commenced moving their families to the 
mountains on Salmon river, in preparation for hostilities. 

At this critical juncture, Mr. Elisha Steele, who was well 
known to the Indians, and had, like Lane, a remarkable 
ability to gain their confidence, so much so that they 
called him "Jo Lane s Brother," happened to arrive from 
Yreka at Johnson s rancho, in Scott valley, where he found 
a company of miners from Scott bar, who had been unsuc 
cessfully pursuing the murderers of Woodman. 

Concerned for the safety of Johnson s family should the 
Indians break out into general warfare, Steele collected 
the Indians in Scott valley, and held a council with Tolo, 
his son Philip, and John, with three of his brothers, one 
of whom was known as Jim. These professed to desire 
peace, and offered to accompany Steele in search of the 
murderers. A party was made up, namely, Steele, John 
McLeod, James Bruce, James White, John Galvin, Peter 
Snellback, and a lad called Harry. These were joined at 
Shasta canon by J. D. Cook, F. W. Merritt, L. S. Thomp 
son, and Ben Wright, who acted as interpreter. 

Proceeding to Yreka to procure the necessary order for 
the arrest of Scarface and Bill, Steele had some difficulty 


to prevent the citizens from executing vengeance on the 
the Indians with him; but having obtained the papers 
required, finally led his party safely away. A two days 
march brought them to the stronghold of the criminals, 
who had prepared for just such a visit as this by fleeing to 
the jurisdiction of Sam on Rogue river, Sam having 
already declared war. 

The casus belli of this chief combined two accusations 
against Dr. Ambrose, a settler; first, that the doctor had 
taken the land which he habitually occupied with his 
people for a winter residence; and, second, that the doctor 
refused to betroth his infant daughter to Sam s infant son. 

On learning these facts, Tolo, Philip, and Jim withdrew 
from Steele s party, but substituted two young warriors, 
who were pledged either to find the murderers or to suffer 
in their stead. The company then divided, a party under 
Ben Wright going to the mines on the Klamath river, and 
Steele to Rogue river. He received confirmation of the 
war rumor while crossing the Siskiyou from two of Sam s 
warriors whom the party captured, one of whom was shot 
in attempting to escape, under the following circumstances : 
When rumors of murder and Sam s declaration of war 
reached Jacksonville, a company of seventy-five or eighty 
men was organized under John K. Lamerick, captain. On 
hearing of this the agent, Skinner, hastened to remon 
strate, and obtained a promise from the volunteers that 
time should be given him to hold a parley with the 
Indians. A committee of four was appointed to accom 
pany the agent, who found Sam at his encampment on 
Big bar, two miles from the house of Dr. Ambrose, and 
near the site of Camp Stuart. He made no objection to 
meet Skinner, and declared himself for peace, but proposed 
to send for Jo and his band, who could not arrive before 
the morrow. To this proposition Skinner and the com 
mittee agreed. 

Before the meeting took place, Steele arrived at Jackson 
ville to demand of Sam the surrender of Scarface and Bill ; 


and Skinner agreed to make the delivery of the criminals 
one of the conditions of peace, but confessed that the sit 
uation was critical. At the time appointed, Skinner and 
Steele, with their respective parties, and the volunteers 
under Lamerick, repaired to Big bar, where they found 
the Indians as agreed. A message was sent to Sam by 
one of Steele s Shastas, asking him to meet the white men 
on their side of the river, bringing with him Jo and a body 
guard of a few warriors, with which request he complied 
after some parleying; but on seeing the volunteers mounted 
and drawn up in line, hesitated to meet them. Skinner, 
to reassure him, ordered the volunteers to dismount and 
stack arms, which was done. 

Now ensued a conflict of judgment between Skinner, 
who was an authorized agent on his own ground, and 
Steele, who held no commission, and who was there to 
arrest Indians belonging on the south side of the Siskiyou. 
The Shasta, whom Steele had sent to Sam s camp, reported 
that the murderers were there, and Steele demanded their 
immediate arrest. But Skinner, fearing to bring on a bat 
tle, opposed it. Sam also refused to negotiate until the 
two Rogue-rivers captured by Steele on the mountains 
were released. An altercation then took place between 
the principals in the council. Skinner, at last addressing 
the prisoners, informed them that he was their white chief, 
and that he restored them to liberty. Steele, on the other 
hand, warned them if they accepted liberty and attempted 
to escape they would be shot, and stationed his men so as 
to form a guard, and to prevent a rescue, should a surprise 
be planned by the Indians. 

As the council proceeded, a hundred armed Indians 
crossed the river, moving about freely among the unarmed 
white men, which caused the volunteers to resume their 
weapons. The council under these circumstances could 
only be a failure. Sam had never meant to enter into a 
treaty which should be binding on him ; Steele was justi 
fied, in his own view, in holding as hostages the two Rogue- 


rivers until the murderers were surrendered; and Skinner 
being a peace man, whose duty it was to prevent war, was 
forced to make concessions which in the end might be 
damaging to his own cause; and finally Sam declared 
that the murderers would not be given up. 

Pretending that he wished to consult with some of his 
people, the chief obtained leave to withdraw from the 
council and recross the river. Once on the further shore 
he shouted back his defiance and refused to return. The 
volunteer force then divided, half, under Lamerick, going 
to a ford above, and the other part going below Big bar, 
prepared to cross and attack Sam s camp should any hos 
tile demonstrations be made on the council ground, where 
Steele s party with Skinner and the crowd of Indians re 

Skinner, fearing an outbreak and anxious to prevent it, 
followed the chief to the north side of the river, about half 
the Indians on the council ground also returning. Steele, 
becoming alarmed for the agent s safety, then placed a 
guard at the crossing to detain those still on the south 
side from rejoining their fellows, and sent one of his 
Shastas to warn him; and although Skinner was aware 
that the messenger could point out to him the guilty 
Indians, he would not allow him to do it, fearing the 
movement would precipitate bloodshed. 

The agent had only just reached camp when it was re 
ported that Scarface with two others were seen fleeing in 
the direction of Klamath, and a commotion arose which 
alarmed the Indians and caused them to seek the cover 
of a piece of woodland in the vicinity as if for a skirmish. 
Alarmed in their turn, Steele s party hastened to a position 
to intercept them, and an encounter appeared imminent, 
when Martin Angell, a settler, formerly of the Wallamet 
valley, where he was well known and respected, proposed 
to the Indians thus situated, numbering about fifty, to lay 
down their arms and take shelter in a log house in the 
vicinity, where they should be kept as hostages until the 


murderers were given up to be tried. They assented, but 
as soon as they had filed past Steele s party they made a 
dash to gain the cover of the woods. To allow them this 
advantage would be to expose themselves to a fire they 
could not return, and with only an instant s delay the 
order was given to attack. 

The tocsin of war had now sounded. The Indians were 
well armed and ready for a fight, and the white men were 
determined, if fight they must, to conquer. When Lame- 
rick s company heard the firing they were still at the 
fords, some distance away. Leaving a minority of his 
men to guard the crossing of the river, Lamerick rode up 
the valley to warn the settlers, going first to the house of 
Dr. Ambrose, which he feared would be attacked. 

The battle was of short duration. The Indians made a 
charge with the design of liberating Steele s prisoners, 
who ran towards the river. One was shot before he reached 
the river, and the other as he climbed up the opposite 
bank. Sam then sent a detachment of his warriors to the 
south side to cut off Steele ; but they were surprised by 
one from the volunteers, and several shot as they sprang 
into the water, the reports varying from four to sixteen, 
according to the motive of the narrator, as well as his 
greater or less knowledge of events. Only one white man 
was wounded, and he slightly. In the fighting Skinner 
had taken no part, but had retired to his residence^ which 
he proceeded to fortify. This skirmish occurred July 

News was received in the evening that during the coun 
cil a party of Sam s people had gone to a bar down the 
river and murdered a small company of miners. Lame- 
rick at once prepared to cross the river and take up a 
position in the pass between Table Rock and the river, 
while Steele moved further up to turn the Indians back 
on Larnerick s force in the morning. The movement was 
entirely successful, the Indians being surrounded, and the 
chief compelled to sue for peace, offering to accept the 


terms proposed the day before, namely, to surrender the 

Agent Skinner was notified, and a council arranged for 
the following day. In the conference it was shown that 
Scarface had not been with Sam, but that the person mis 
taken for him was Sullix of Tipso s band, who also had a 
countenance made hideous with scars, and that the real 
Scarface was hiding in the Salmon-river mountains. He 
was ultimately arrested and hanged at Yreka. 10 As for 
Sullix, he had received a severe wound in the fight of the 
nineteenth, and was now more ugly than before. 

The treaty which Skinner ultimately was able to make 
with Sam and his people, required the Rogue-rivers, 
among other things, to hold no communication with the 
Shastas. It is doubtful if this part of the treaty was very 
strictly kept, but to keep it in part tended to the preven 
tion of mischief. An occasional present of a fat ox also 
contributed to the general peace of the community, and 
was easier for the agent than treaty making at the muzzle 
of a gun. The number of murders committed b} T In 
dians of the Rogue-river bands in 1852 were only about 
half those of the previous year, say eighteen that were 
certainly known, and a few others suspected. 

In all the councils with the Indians they had been told 
that the United States government would ratify the treaties 
made, and pay for their lands in property, instruction, pro 
tection, and money. What was then the mortification and 
anxiety of these servants of the people when the superin 
tendent of Indian affairs, soon after the treaty with the 
Rogue-rivers, received notice that all the treaties nego 
tiated in Oregon had been ordered to lie upon the table in 
the senate, and was instructed to enter into no more, ex 
cept such as were imperatively required to preserve peace. 
The government wanted time to define its policy. Dart, 
in December, sent in his resignation to take effect the fol 
lowing June. 

10 The expenses of Steele s expedition were two thousand two hundred dollars, 
which amount was borne by the party, and never reimbursed. 


Early in 1852, Lane, as delegate to congress, was doing- 
all that he could to secure military protection for the im 
migration to Oregon. Pie was met with the reply that his 
predecessor, Thurston, had declared the mounted rifle 
regiment unnecessary; and had combated the idea with 
statements and arguments founded upon the changed con 
dition of the country, but especially upon the helplessness 
of immigrants hundreds of miles from any military post, 
and burdened with the care of families and property. 
His eloquence was strengthened by the citation of the 
outrages of 1851 on the Snake river plains. 

The immigration of 1852 by this route was very large 
and well equipped, and perhaps for this reason was 
suffered to pass with less bloodshed than might have been 
anticipated, though there was much annoyance from pil- 
ferings, and horse stealing. But the immigration by the 
southern route was less favored. This road ran through 
the lake country, where, in 1843, Fremont s camp was 
attacked, and where Captain W. H. Warner in 1849 was 
murdered while surveying for a Pacific railroad. Parties 
traveling through this region were compelled to exercise 
extreme care, particularly at a pass now known as Bloody 
Point, where the road ran between an overhanging cliff 
and the waters of Tule lake. The immigration of 1851 
had been attacked at this place, but from the fact that 
these Indians had not yet learned to expect an annual 
transit of white people through their country, they were 
not prepared for the work of robbery and murder which 
was accomplished in 1852, when between sixty and one 
hundred men, women, and children died at their hands, 
and a large amount of property was stolen or destroyed. 

It will be remembered that Ben Wright left Steele s 
party en route to Jacksonville to go to the Klamath, pre 
sumably to Yreka. On arriving there he met a party of 
sixty male immigrants, the advance of the larger number 
on the road, who reported that they had not been molested, 
but that there were many companies on the road, some of 


them with families, and that the Indians were burning 
signal fires on the mountains, which boded no good to 

On this report, Charles McDermit of Yreka raised a 
company of between thirty and forty volunteers, to meet 
and escort immigrant parties over the most dangerous 
portion of the road through the Modoc country. At Tule 
lake the volunteers met another company of male immi 
grants, going to Yreka and with them sent back two men, 
named Smith and Toland, to act as guides and guards. 
This party was attacked, and Smith and Toland wounded, 
but the discharge of a rifle happening to take off the top 
of an Indian s head, so excited the savages for a few 
moments that the white men made their escape. 

The next party to reach the Tule lake portion of the 
road was led by J. C. Tolman, who has since been a candi 
date for governor of Oregon. It consisted of about twenty 
poorly armed men, five of them with families, and ten 
wagons. They found McDermit s company on the west 
shore of Goose lake, and were warned of the danger ahead, 
two of the volunteers accompanying them as guides. On 
coming to the high hill one mile east of the south end of 
Tule lake on the nineteenth of August, no Indians being 
in sight, the guides, having in mind James Bridger s 
caution, " When there are no Indians in sight, then look 
out," decided to avoid a probable ambush by taking a 
northerly course across a sagebrush flat. The women and 
children were placed in the wagons, and the covers fast 
ened down to hide them from view, while the few fire 
arms were made ready for use. 

In this manner the company had nearly reached the 
open valley when the yells of Indians in pursuit discov 
ered to them that spies had betrayed them to those in 
concealment. By making all the speed possible, open 
ground was reached just as a shower of arrows whizzed 
through the air; but on seeing several rifles leveled upon 
them, the Modocs were intimidated and withdrew to the 


shelter of the rocks, appearing again on a high ridge, ges 
ticulating and uttering demoniacal cries expressive of 
their rage and disappointment. 

Seeing that they were working themselves up to a fight 
ing pitch, and would probably attack at some other point, 
it was thought best to return and hold a talk. Acting on 
this plan, the wagons were corraled, and Tolman with a 
half a dozen others, making a great show of arms, went 
back to within speaking distance, and challenged them 
through one of the guides who could speak the jargon, to 
come and fight. Like all people who practice treachery 
they feared it, and not knowing what might be inside the 
wagon covers declined; but the head chief proposed to 
meet the interpreter unarmed and talk with him. 

While the interview was progressing at a safe distance 
apart of the interlocutors, it was observed by Mr. Tolman 
that every now and then a Modoc had tied his bow to his 
toe, secreted his arrows, and pretending to be disarmed, 
joined the chief. The interpreter, on being warned, ordered 
the Indians sent back, and the chief seeing no opportunity 
for obtaining an advantage, agreed to return whence he 
came, and leave the party to pursue its way unmolested. 
It had not proceeded far, however, before it discovered a 
reserve of Indians mounted, who had been placed where 
they could intercept any persons escaping from the narrow 
pass along Tule lake. Finding themselves outwitted, they 
also retired, hoping for better luck next time. Camp was 
made that night fifteen miles from Tule lake, and a severe 
cold rainstorm prevented a night attack, which, being 
reserved till the morning, was averted by a very early 
start of the train. 

On the twenty-third of August, at nine o clock in the 
evening, Tolman s camp was visited by a man on a poor 
and jaded horse, whose condition excited the utmost pity 
in all hearts. He had to be lifted from his horse and fed 
and nursed back to life before he could give any account 
of himself. It then appeared that he belonged to a party 


of eight men who had been surprised by the Modocs, and 
all killed except himself. His horse being shot, he sprang 
upon another, which ran with him, carrying him until it 
fell exhausted, several miles up the valley of Lost river. 
From here the man, whose mind was evidently unsettled 
by the shock he had received, wandered to Klamath lake, 
but seeing an Indian turned back, and the next day dis 
covered his horse feeding, which he remounted and rode, 
without getting down, for three days, and until he came 
to Tolman s camp. He had eaten nothing, but had tied 
up a handful of rosebuds in his handkerchief, as he " ex 
pected to be out all winter, and should need them." This 
demented creature was taken by the company to Yreka, 
where his story, in connection with the report of Tolman 
and the guides, of the dangers of the Modoc country, led 
to the organization of a second company of volunteers. 

A meeting was called on the evening of the twenty- 
fourth of August, at which means to put the men in the 
field was subscribed by the citizens and miners, and Ben 
Wright was chosen captain. He was at that time mining 
on Cotton wood creek, twenty miles distant, but by daylight 
was in Yreka, surrounded by men eager alike to prevent 
carnage, or to avenge it by spending more blood. A 
peculiar enthusiasm was imparted to volunteering by the 
fact that Tolman s train was the first to arrive with women 
and children, the homeless miners having their minds 
harrowed by the suggestion of what might have been the 
fate of these but for the warning and guidance given by 
McDermit s company, and what might, even after all, 
befall others on some part of the route. 

Three days were consumed in getting together the equip 
ment of men and horses, with provision wagons, and every 
thing necessary; and on the sixth day after the meeting in 
Yreka, Wright reached Tule lake just in time to rescue a 
train that was surrounded and fighting the Modocs, two 
men being wounded. The sight of Wright s company 
advancing sent the savages into places of concealment 


among the tules, and on an island in the lake, and equally 
alarmed the immigrants, who mistook them for mounted 
Indians, and prepared for a yet more desperate encounter. 
But their fears were changed to joy when Wright, discov 
ering their alarm, rode forward alone. This train was 
escorted beyond danger, and the company returned to 
learn what had taken place in the Modoc country. 

Wright found the mutilated bodies of the eight men 
before mentioned, with those of three of his acquaintances, 
members of McDermit s company, who had been sent to 
guide trains, and conclusive evidences that no party or 
train had escaped destruction which had entered the fatal 
pass of Bloody Point since the nineteenth. 

Filled with ra^e and grief, Wright and his men made 
haste to attack the Indians in their stronghold. To do 
this they had to wade in water among the tules that was 
up to their armpits, and fight the Modocs concealed in am 
buscades constructed of tules, having portholes. Suph was 
the vigor of their charge, however, that the ambuscades 
were quickly depopulated, and thirty or more Modocs 
killed while escaping to the rocky island in the lake. 

After this battle, Wright proceeded east to Clear lake, 
where he met a large party of immigrants and planned a 
stratagem to draw the Indians out of their strong position 
on the island. He unloaded several ox wagons, filled them 
with armed men, a few of whom were clothed in women s 
apparel, tied down the wagon covers and instructed the 
men to proceed in the usual careless and loitering way of 
true immigrants along the dangerous pass. But the In 
dians either had out spies who reported the trick, or were 
too severely punished to feel like attacking white men, 
and remained in their fastnesses. 

Wright then went to Yreka and had boats built with 
which to reach the island, spending the time of waiting in 
patroling the road through the Modoc country. In the 
meantime, accounts of the massacres had reached Jackson 
ville, and another company, commanded by John E. Ross 


of that place, proceeded to the Modoc country, where it re 
mained on the road until the season of travel was past. 
On the arrival of Ross, Wright returned to Yreka for sup 
plies, and to bring out his boats. But he was unable to 
reach the Indians, who retreated to the lava beds, since 
made famous by the Modoc war, inaccessible then, as now, 
to white men. 

That which Wright did find were the proofs that many, 
very many, persons, including women and children, had 
been cruelly tortured and butchered. Here again the 
men of his company, some of whom had families two or 
three thousand miles away, burst forth into tears of rage 
at the sight of women s dresses and babies socks among 
the property plundered from the owners. Where, now, 
were the men and women who had toiled over these thou 
sands of miles to meet their fate at this place? Where 
the prattling babes whose innocent feet fitted the tiny 
socks? Even their bones were undiscoverable, but the 
proofs that they had lived and died were heaped up in 
the wickiups of their cruel slayers. 

The next attempt of Wright, who seems to have remained 
behind the other companies, was to make a treaty with 
the Modocs. However much he may have desired to have 
seen them exterminated, or even to have helped extermi 
nate them, the safety of all who passed through their 
country demanded that peace should be secured. From 
two captured, one of whom was wrapped in a cradle 
quilt, he learned that two white women were captives 
among the Modocs, and for this reason also he felt it 
necessary to enter into negotiations with them. 

Wright, like Lane, had for a servant an Indian boy, 
who was part Modoc, and spoke their language. Using 
this boy as an ambassador, he finally persuaded four of 
the head men to visit his camp, with the purpose of dis 
cussing the terms of a treaty, his proposition being that 
if they would bring in the two captives, and the stock 
taken from the immigrants, he would leave their country 


and trouble them no more; or, if they wished, he would 
trade with them for their furs and feathers. To this the 
chiefs gave their assent, and while one was sent to fetch 
the women and the property, the other three were detained 
as hostages. Wright s company had by this time dwindled 
to eighteen men. When the chief returned to his camp, 
instead of bringing with him the captive women and the 
stolen stock, he brought only a few broken down horses 
and a shotgun ; but he was accompanied by forty-five war 
riors. When remonstrated with for this violation of his 
pledge, he replied that Wright had required three hos 
tages, and now, his men greatly outnumbering Wright s he 
should hold him and his company as hostages for the good 
conduct of the white people. The place where Wright was 
encamped was near the stone ford of Lost river, on the 
north side, the Modocs encamping on the same side. The 
situation was critical, it being plain that a net was spread 
for him which would surely close about him unless he met 
the danger with a desperate measure. The order issued 
for the night was for six men at midnight to silently cross 
the ford, a natural bridge at this season of the year, 
and hide themselves in the artemisia which covered the 
plain. At the firing of a signal gun in the dawning they 
were to attack simultaneously the Indians who lay between 
them. The order was scrupulously obeyed, the men rush 
ing upon the surprised Indians at the crack of Wright s 
gun, finishing the fight with their pistols. In twenty 
minutes the battle was over, and forty Indians lay slain. 
Wright had four men wounded, who were carried on litters 
made of guns lashed together fifteen miles, and an express 
sent to Yreka for aid. On the return of the company to 
that place thin, sun-browned, and nearly naked they 
were received with bonfires and banquets. The only re 
gret felt was that the two captive women were left to the 
fiendish cruelty which no one doubted would end their 
lives before they could be rescued. As a matter of fact, 
they never were seen alive, but years after their bleaching 



bones were pointed out by the Indians to curious investi 
gators of Indian history. Wright seems to have had ene 
mies or rivals who strove to dim his popularity by a story 
of poisoning the Indians invited to a council. The tale 
had little to recommend it to belief had it never been de 
nied by the most prominent citizens of Yreka, who were 
members of his company. It was seized upon by the reg 
ular army and reported by General Wool as a fact, the 
stigma of which is hardly yet removed from his name. 
Yet the story disproves itself, for he is represented as pur 
chasing the strychnine for a feast to the Indians at the 
time he was in Yreka with the purpose of procuring boats 
to pursue them into their hiding places with arms. It was 
long after the failure of this attempt that a council was pro 
posed with a specific purpose as above related, and although 
beef was given the Indians, as is the custom of treaty mak 
ers, it was the same as that eaten by the company, if we 
may trust the word of honorable men who were partakers. 11 

Says Tolman, who was well informed concerning these 
events, " If the Modocs had not been confident of getting 
the advantage, they would never have left their cave." 
He further says that Wright s boy had betrayed him, and 
the Modocs had come prepared to fight, and that had he 
wavered for a moment his own life and that of all his 
company would have paid for his indecision. 

Oregon had been organized into a territory of the United 
States for over four years, and was still fighting her own 
battles. But in September of this year there arrived at 
Vancouver the skeleton of the fourth United States infantry, 
consisting of two hundred and sixty-eight men, rank and 
file, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bonneville. The regiment 
had been decimated by sickness on the Isthmus, and was 
still unfit for service had not the season been too late to do 
more than arrange their quarters for the winter. The fol 
lowing chapter will show the value of their arms. 

11 Says E. P. Jenner in the Yreka Journal: I deny emphatically that any were 
killed in any other way than by powder and lead, which John C. Burgess, John S. 
Hallick, and William Penning, old members of Wright s company, now in Siskiyou, 
will testify to. 





THERE could hardly have been any reliance placed upon 
the durability of the treaty made with chief Sam. Skinner 
was unable to perform what was expected of him as a rep 
resentative of the government, not being supplied with tlie 
means; and Sam was but an unwilling party to it from 
the beginning. So far as the chief was individually con 
cerned, however, he, for the greater part of a year, observed 
the conditions imposed upon him by the treaty. 

But a sub-chief, called Taylor, who had his range in the 
Grave creek country, murdered a party of seven men, 
during a severe storm in the hills, and reported them 
drowned. Other depredations were traced to him, and a 
rumor became current that the Rogue-rivers held white 
women captive at Table Rock. This rumor probably 
grew out of the story, already referred to, that the Modocs 
held captive two white girls for some time, whom they 
finally tortured to death. The imagination of the public, 
excited by the atrocities in the Modoc country, was sensitive 
to any suggestion of Indian malevolence, and the desire 
for vengeance was ill suppressed, ready to break out into 
action at any moment. Finally, about the first of June, a 



party from Jacksonville arrested Taylor, with three others, 
and hanged them ; after which they proceeded to Table 
Rock, and not finding the captive women, attacked a 
village, killing six Indians. 

There was at this time neither Indian agent nor military 
officer in Rogue-river valley to prevent the outrages of one 
race upon the other. Dart had been superseded in the 
superintendency by Joel Palmer, who had not yet supplied 
the place of agent Skinner, resigned. The nearest troops 
were at Fort Orford on the coast and Fort Jones in Scott 
valley. A new administration had come in, Lane having 
returned to Oregon with the commission of governor, only 
to be reflected delegate, leaving the secretary, George L. 
Curry, acting governor, and Lane at liberty to reside, as 
he preferred to do when in Oregon, at Roseburg in the 
Umpqua valley. 

This was the condition of affairs when, early in August, 
the settlements in Rogue-river valley were suddenly at 
tacked. On the fourth, Richard Edwards was killed at his 
home on Stuart s creek; on the fifth, Thomas J. Wills and 
Rhodes Noland were killed, and Burrill F. Griffin and one 
Davis wounded. Hastily formed volunteer companies pa 
trolled the roads and warned settlers, who gathered their 
families into a few fortified houses, and setting over them 
a guard, joined the volunteers. 

On the seventh of August two Shasta Indians were cap 
tured, one on Applegate creek and the other on Jackson 
creek. Both were in war paint, and on investigation were 
proved guilty of the murder of Wills and Noland, for 
which they were hung at Jacksonville. Not satisfied with 
this act of justice, an Indian lad who had nothing what 
ever to do with the murders, was seized and hung by the 
infuriated miners. So great was the excitement that it 
was dangerous for a man to suggest mercy. 

Acts of this nature were not calculated to lessen hostili 
ties on the other side, and the torch was applied to the 
abandoned houses of the settlers. Ten homes in as many 


miles were thus laid waste. On the day of the hanging, 
Isaac Hill and a party of volunteers from Ashland at 
tacked some roving Indians a few miles from that place, 
killing six. Ten days later the Indians attacked an im 
migrant camp at Ashland, and killed Hugh Smith and 
John Gibbs, wounding M. B. Morris, William Hodgkins, 
A. G. Lordyce, and Brice Whitmore. On the fourteenth, 
Dr. William R. Rose and John R. Hardin, members of a 
volunteer organization, while patrolling the line of travel 
towards the north, with W. G. T Vault, S. S. Wall, and 
David Birdseye. were shot at from ambush, Rose killed, 
and Hardin mortally wounded. Says L. J. C. Duncan: 
" The outraged populace began to slaughter right and left," 
after these events. 

Immediately after the outbreak, and while these events 
were in progress, a petition was addressed to Captain Alden, 
in command of Fort Jones, asking for arms and ammuni 
tion, who at once responded by coming in person with 
about a dozen men. On the fifteenth, a request was sent 
to Governor Curry at Salem, to make a requisition on Col 
onel Bonneville at Vancouver, for a howitzer, rifles, and 
ammunition, which were immediately forwarded in charge 
of Lieutenant Kautz and six artillerymen, escorted by forty 
volunteers under J. W. Nesmith, captain, and officered by 
L. F. Grover, first lieutenant; W. K. Beale, second lieuten 
ant; J. D. McCurdy, surgeon; and J. M. Crooks, orderly 

Over two hundred volunteers were enrolled in Rogue- 
river valley. John F. Miller was elected captain of the 
first company; B. B. Griffin, first lieutenant; Abel George, 
second lieutenant; and Clay Westfelt, orderly sergeant. 
This company numbered one hundred and fifteen men. 
Two other companies, under Captains John K. Lamerick 
and T. T. Tierney, were organized about the same time, 
while from Yreka came eighty fighting men under Cap 
tains Goodall and Rhodes. These all reported to Captain 
Alden, who assumed the command. No provision had 


been made for the subsistence of so many men, and Alden 
appointed George Dart, Edward Shell, L. A. Loomis. and 
Eichard Dugan a military commission to constitute a gen 
eral department of supply; and learning that the Indians 
were in force near Table Rock, planned an attack for the 
night of the eleventh. But the volunteers learning that 
the Indians were in the valley killing and burning, rushed 
away to the defense of their homes without waiting for 
orders, and for several days were scouring the country, 
divided into small bands, as before mentioned. Before 
they came together again, Sam offered battle, which Alden 
was compelled to decline. But having recovered his force 
he made a movement on the fifteenth to dislodge the In 
dians from their supposed hiding place in a canon five 
miles north of Table Rock, from which, however, they had 
departed before his arrival, firing the woods behind them 
to obliterate their trial. 

It was not until the seventeenth that Lieutenant Eh r of 
the Yreka company, with a detachment of twenty-five 
men, discovered the enemy s camp on Evans creek, fifteen 
miles from Table Rock. Knowing that the main force 
had returned to Camp Stuart for supplies, Ely fell back to 
an open piece of ground crossed by creeks, whose banks 
were lined with thickets of willow, where he halted and 
sent a courier for reinforcements. But Sam, seeing his 
opportunity, advanced his warriors through the creek 
channels under cover of the wallows, and getting within 
range, killed two men at the first fire. The company 
retreated to a pine ridge a quarter of a mile distant, but 
the Indians soon flanked and surrounded them, and the 
fight lasted three and a half hours, during which four 
more men were killed and four wounded. At the end of 
this time Captain Goodall, with the remainder of the 
Yreka company, came up, and the Indians retreated. 
The killed in this skirmish were J. Shaw, Frank Perry, 
F. Keath, A. Douglas, A. C. Colburn, and L. Locktirg. 
The wounded were Lieutenant Ely, John Albin, James 
Carroll, and Z. Shultz. 


Lane was at Roseburg when the news of the outbreak 
reached him, and set out at once for Rogue river, accom 
panied by Pleasant Armstrong of Yamhill county, and 
James Cluggage, who had been to the Umpqua valley in 
the vain endeavor to enlist the Klickitats against the 
Rogue-river Indians, and eleven other men. Immediately 
on Lane s arrival, Alden tendered him the command, 
which he accepted on the twenty-first, and on the twenty- 
second assumed his office in due form. An aggressive 
movement was decided upon. W. G. T Vault was ap 
pointed his aide, and C. Lewis, a captain of volunteers, 
his assistant adjutant-general, but Lewis falling ill, L. F. 
Mosher took his place. 

The available forces were divided into two battalions, 
one consisting of the companies of Captains Goodall and 
Rhodes under Colonel Alden, with Lane at their head, to 
proceed up the river to where Ely had met with defeat, 
there to find the enemy s trail, which was known led in 
the direction of Evans creek. The other battalion, under 
John E. Ross, was directed to proceed to the mouth of 
Evans creek, and thence up that stream to a junction 
with Alden, to prevent the Indians from being driven 
back on the settlements. 

After a day s travel, made exhausting by smoke from 
the burning forest, Alden s command came upon the trail 
of the enemy and encamped. On the following day, after 
another fatiguing march, he again encamped, and had 
hardly taken up the line of march on the twenty -fourth, 
when Lane, who was in advance, heard the discharge of a 
rifle and distinguished voices. Waiting for the companies 
to come up, he halted them, and outlined his plan of at 
tack, which was that Alden, with Goodall s company, 
should quietly proceed on foot along the trail and attack 
the Indians in front, while a detachment of ten picked 
men from Rhodes command, under Lieutenant Charles 
Blair, was to take a ridge to the left to turn the enemy s 
flank. Lane would himself wait for the rear guard to 
come up, and lead them into action. 


Alden proceeded as directed and with so little noise that 
the crack of his rifles was the first intimation the Indians 
had of the approach of an enemy. Although surprised, 
they made a vigorous resistance from behind fortifications 
of logs, being well supplied with arms and ammunition. 
Their camp being surrounded by dense thickets, it was 
difficult and dangerous to charge them, and from this 
cause and the nature of the ground it was impossible for 
the flanking party to turn their left as designed, but it 
engaged them on the right. After the first fire the volun 
teers took cover behind trees and fought in true Indian 
style, the battle becoming general. 

When Lane arrived on the ground he found Colonel 
Alden dangerously wounded, having been shot down early 
in the fight. Leaving him to the care of his men, 1 Lane 
made an examination of the ground and finding the In 
dians securely posted, gave the order to charge, himself 
leading the movement. When within thirty yards of 
their line, he was struck by a rifle ball in his right arm 
near the shoulder. Believing the shot to have come from 
the flank, he ordered the line extended so as to prevent its 
being turned by the enemy, and the men to again take 
cover behind trees, where they fought with cool deter 
mination for several hours. 

Finding himself growing weak from loss of blood, Lane 
had retired to the rear to have his wound dressed. The 
Indians, meantime, having discovered his* identity, called 
out to the volunteers that they were tired of war, and de 
sired to talk with " Jo Lane." On Lane s return to the 
front he held a conference with his officers on the subject 
of holding a council with the Indians. It was evident 
they were well armed, and held a position nearly, if not 
quite, impregnable. There were two opinions advocated, 
one that the Indians really desired peace, and another 
that they were seeking an advantage. The question of 
allowing the Indians an opportunity to talk was put to 

1 Alden died two years afterwards from the effect of this wound. 


vote, every man having a voice in the matter. Less than 
half voted for a talk, the others remaining silent. He 
then sent Robert B. Metcalf and James Bruce into the 
Indian lines to get an expression of their wishes, when 
they reiterated their desire to see "Jo Lane." 

On entering their camp, Lane found them with many 
wounded, and some dead, whom they were burning. Chief 
Jo, with his brothers Sam and Jim, assured Lane that 
they were sick of war. He outlined to them a plan of 
treaty which included the obligation on their part to go 
upon a reservation, and they agreed to it. The date fixed 
for the treaty council was early in September, and these 
affairs being arranged, Lane returned to the place of dis 
mounting in the morning, where the wounded were being 
cared for, and the dead buried. 

The white men killed in this battle were Pleasant 
Armstrong, 2 John Scarborough, and Isaac Bradley. The 
wounded volunteers were Henry Flasher, Thomas Hayes, 
and Charles C. Abbott; the latter dying of his wounds 
September second. The Indian loss was eight killed and 
twenty wounded. 

Ross battalion arrived too late to participate in the 
battle of Evans creek, on account of which disappoint 
ment they inclined to renew it, but were restrained by 
Lane, who went into camp within four hundred yards of 
the enemy, where he remained for two days. Impelled by 
their personal regard for Lane, who had always been able 
to appear to them if not as a friend, at least as a magnan 
imous enemy, the Indian women carried water to the 
wounded, and the Indian men helped bear them on litters 
to camp. Such is the savage nature, one moment governed 
by animal rages, and in the next exhibiting fear, timidity, 
and even tenderness. 

On the twenty-ninth, the Indian and volunteer forces 
moved down into the valley, each keeping strict watch 

2 Armstrong s remains, it is said, were disinterred and cut to pieces. He was a 
brother of the author of Annstrong s Oregon, a descriptive work. 


upon the other. The ground chosen for the council was 
on the south side of Rogue river, the Indians making their 
encampment on an elevation directly opposite the cliffs of 
Table Rock, and Lane in the valley one mile distant, on 
the spot where Fort Lane was soon afterwards established. 
Although, according to the armistice, peace should have 
been restored, there was some further fighting in scattered 
localities between independent volunteer companies and 
roving bands of Indians. Four days after the battle of 
Evans creek, a collision occurred between a detachment of 
Captain Owens company, under Lieutenant Thomas Fraz- 
zell, and a foraging party of Rogue-rivers at Long s ferry, 
about ten miles below the mouth of the creek, in which 
Frazzell and a private named James Mango were killed. 
After this Owens induced a party of Indians to enter his- 
camp on Grave creek, and treacherously shot them; at 
least so it is related in a public document. Robert L. 
Williams, captain of a volunteer company, was also re 
ported to have slain twelve Indians in an unfair fight, in 
which he lost one man, Thomas Phillips. 3 Doubtless 
many things were done in the exasperation of public 
feeling, caused by the interruption of business and loss of 
property and friends, which, under any other circum 
stances, would have seemed impossible to the actors. 
Martin Angell, a highly respected citizen, from his own 
door shot an Indian out of pure hatred of the race, which 
seemed to him only incarnate evil. He was, long after, 
shot from an ambush by one of the hated race; and this 
was Indian war. But now there was to be peace. 

The time between the battle of Evans creek and the 
fourth of September was spent in preparations for the 
treaty council, which could not be held until the arrival 
of Superintendent Palmer. In the interim, there arrived 
Captain A. J. Smith, first United States dragoons, from 
Fort Orford, with his troops; Lieutenant Kautz of the 

3 United States house executive documents, 99, p. 4, thirty-third congress, first 


artillery with the howitzer; and J. W. Neswith with his 
company of volunteers. The latter bore a commission 
from acting Governor Curry, giving Lane what he already 
had, the command of the forces in the field. 

By that spy system which was in vogue among the 
natives, keeping them informed of the movements of 
strangers and enemies, the approach of the howitzer be 
came known some time before its arrival, and created a 
lively apprehension. They described it as a hyas (great) 
rifle, which took a hatful of powder to a load, and could 
shoot down a tree. Their fear of it was abject, and they 
begged not to have it fired. Who shall say how much 
influence it had upon the treaty? 

On the fourth, a preliminary council was held. When 
agreeing to the armistice, Lane had exacted a hostage, and 
had been given a son of chief Jo; for the white men were 
still few in comparison with the natives, and not many 
had any confidence in their professed desire for peace. 

The terms of the preliminan 7 council were nearly iden 
tical with those agreed to between General Canby and the 
Modocs twenty years later, and the outcome might have 
been the same but for Lane s precautions. The meeting 
place was a mile from the volunteer camp on a butte 
within the Indian lines on Evans creek. The white per 
sons present were General Lane, his arm in a sling, the 
volunteer captains, Colonel Ross, and interpreter Metcalf. 
These proceeded on foot to the council, meeting at the 
base of the butte an armed guard, which disarmed them 
before they reached the place prepared for the conference. 
Captain Miller, however, secreted a revolver, of which act 
Lane was made aware. Arrived at the council lodge, the 
white men were received with a sullen etiquette not easily 
translated into cordiality. They were assigned their places, 
and the chiefs Jo, Sam, and Jim of the Rogue-river tribes, 
with Limpy and George of the Applegate creek families, 
seated inside a wall of armed warriors. Notwithstanding 
this threatening appearance, the Rogue-river chiefs made 


temperate speeches in favor of peace. But Limpy ad 
dressed the council in a torrid burst of savage eloquence 
on the aggressiveness of white men, and his determination 
not to permit his native country to become alienated to 
them. During this inflammatory speech, whose effect 
upon others could be perceived, General Lane sat smiling 
thoughtfully, but whispered to Captain Miller, "Keep your 
eye on that d d scoundrel," which was equivalent to an 
order to keep his hand on his pistol. But the hostage of 
chief Jo s son was better security against treachery than 
the single revolver, and the party came safely out of a 
dangerous trap in which they were apparently fatally 
enmeshed. These appearances led Lane to require other 
hostages before the treaty council appointed for September 
eighth took place; and led also to the wearing of arms 
by the volunteers who assembled in the vicinity of the In 
dian camp, although the high contracting parties were un 

By the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired 
the whole of the Rogue-river valley, one hundred square 
miles on the north side of the river, in the vicinity of 
Table Rock, being reserved for a temporary home for the 
Indians. The price agreed upon was sixty thousand dol 
lars, fifteen thousand being deducted for indemnity for 
losses of property by the settlers through the war. Of the 
remaining forty-five thousand, five thousand was to be ex 
pended in agricultural implements and goods chosen by 
the superintendent, on or before the first day of September, 
1854, and in paying for such improvements as had been 
made by white settlers on the lands reserved. The re 
maining forty thousand was to be paid in sixteen annual 
installments, commencing at the above date, and payable 
in Indian goods, blankets, stock, and farming utensils. 
Each of the chiefs was to have a dwelling-house erected, 
at a cost of not more than five hundred dollars, which 
houses were to be put up as soon after the ratification of 
the treaty as practicable. When the nation was removed 


to another and permanent reservation, buildings for the 
chiefs were again to be furnished, and fifteen thousand 
additional was to be paid to the tribe in five annual in 
stallments, commencing at the expiration of the previous 

The treaty bound the Indians to make their permanent 
residence in a place to be set apart in the future; to give 
up firearms, except a few for hunting; to forfeit their an 
nuities if they went to war against the settlers; to notify 
the agent of the raids of other tribes and assist in expelling 
them; to apply for the redress of their own wrongs to the 
agent put over them; to protect such agent, and to refrain 
from molesting white persons passing through the reserva 
tion. The sacredness of property was to be regarded, and 
all crimes by red or white men were to be tried and pun 
ished according to the laws of the United States. To pre 
vent collisions, white people, except those in the employ 
of the government, were forbidden to reside on the reser 
vation, and the Indians were required to deliver them up 
to the superintendent if they disregarded this prohibition. 5 
A treaty was also made with the Cow creek band of Ump- 
quas, which through its contact with the Grave creek band 
of Rogue-rivers had become troublesome. This band sold 
eight hundred square miles, about half of which was good 
farming land, for twelve thousand dollars and a few pres 

Two circumstances must be taken into account in pass 
ing judgment upon treaty makers; the first, that the price 
offered for Indian territory is not dependent upon its ex 
tent, but upon its population; and, the second, that to se 
cure the ratification of a treaty it should not call for too 
large an appropriation. The whole business of Indian 
treaties is open to criticism, but this is not the place for 
it. The people of Rogue-river valley and. the contiguous 

3 The names appended to this treaty were Joel Palmer, superintendent of Indian 
affairs; Samuel H. Culver, Indian agent; Asperkahar (Jo), Toquahear ( Sam), Anac- 
haharah (Jim), John, and Limpy. The witnesses were Joseph Lane, Augustus V. 
Kautz, J. W. Nesmith, K. B. Metcalf, John (interpreter), J. D. Mason, and T. T. Tier- 


mining territory must have respite from police duty, must 
be able to sleep by night, and attend to their affairs by 
day; and Palmer doubtless acted upon his best judgment 
in securing these blessings to both races. 

After the conclusion of the treaties, Samuel 11. Culver 
took up his residence as Indian agent on the reservation, 
and Captain Smith proceeded to erect Fort Lane, opposite 
the lower end of Table Rock, where he went into quarters 
with his troop. Business and travel were resumed, and the 
inhabitants of the valley enjoyed once more the peace they 
craved, breathed freely, and slept soundly. The volunteers 
were disbanded, with the exception of Captain John F. Mil 
ler s company, which was ordered to the Modoc country to 
patrol the southern emigrant road, always a dangerous 
one to travelers. Hastily collecting provisions and ammu 
nition, Captain Miller proceeded to the lake country, mak 
ing his headquarters on Lost river, near tihe natural bridge, 
and marching the main part of his command as far east 
as Surprise valley and the Humboldt river, keeping upon 
the road until the immigration had all passed the points 
of danger. 

When the volunteers were in the vicinity of Tule lake 
they observed smoke rising above the tules, and thinking 
it came from fires on inhabited islands in the lake, con 
structed boats of wagon beds and went out to explore them, 
when they found a number of canoes filled with Modoc 
women and children, and containing fireplaces of stone and 
mud, at which were cooked the fish on which they subsisted. 
On the Indian children was found the blood-stained cloth 
ing taken from murdered immigrant children. These 
families, hiding from the justly apprehended wrath of 
white men, were made to pay the penalty of blood with 
out process of law, or the law s delays. 

About the middle of October the miners of Illinois val 
ley were annoyed by the frequent depredations of the 


coast Indians, who had been driven in upon them fyy 
miners on the beach, who had previously suffered from 
murder and robbery. It being necessary to punish them, 
Lieutenant R. C. W. Radford of Fort Lane, was ordered 
to take a few men and chastise these Indians. But rind 
ing them too numerous to attack, he sent for reenforce- 
ments, which, arriving under Lieutenant Caster on the 
twenty-second, pursuit was begun, and after a chase of 
three days among the mountains a skirmish took place, in 
which about a dozen Indians and two troopers were killed, 
and four troopers wounded. Considerable property taken 
from the miners was recovered, and a treaty entered into 
between the miners and this branch of the Rogue-river 
nation, which was observed until January following, when 
a party from Sailor diggings in pursuit of unknown rob 
bers, by mistake attacked the treaty Indians, some of both 
sides being killed. Peace was restored when the Indian 
agent appeared and the affair was explained. 

According to the report of the secretary of war, the 
Indian disturbances in southern Oregon in 1853 cost the 
lives of over one hundred white persons, and several hun 
dred Indians. In making his estimate the secretary must 
have included the northern portion o/ California, which 
by reason of the unsettled boundary line was at that time 
pretty generally spoken of as being in Oregon. The ex 
pense to the general government was said to be seven thou 
sand dollars a day, with only from two hundred to five 
hundred men in the field; and the hostilities in the short 
period of little over a month to have cost a total of two 
hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars. 

The loss to settlers, computed by a commission consist 
ing of L. F. Grover, A. C. Gibbs, and G. H. Ambrose^ 
amounted to a little less than forty -six thousand- dollars, 
nearly eighteen thousand of which was deducted from the 
price paid by the government for the Rogue-river lands to 
cover losses and pay for improvements vacated. There 
fore it might be said that, after all, the United States 


paid heavily in one way and another for this portion 
of Oregon. 4 

As to the people whose stock had been killed, whose 
houses and fences destroyed, and as to the widows and 
fatherless children left by the war, the little indemnity 
money to be obtained at the end of congressional deliber 
ation and commissioners awards counted as nothing 
against their losses. Many of the claimants failed to 
receive this pitiful payment, and, in 1872, the balance of 
the appropriation for this purpose was illegally turned 
back into the treasury, where it remained for ten years 
longer before, by the labor of several attorneys and an 
order of Secretary Fairchilds, it was placed back to the 
credit of the claimants. And then the commissioner of 
Indian affairs and the secretary and auditor of the treas 
ury, were unable to find the original report of the com 
missioners of award, refusing to pass any claim without it, 
or without an act of congress. However, at length, through 
the persistency of B. F. Dowell of Jacksonville, the origi 
nal report was discovered, and the claims all settled thirty 
years after the war. 

The feeling of security which followed the treaty and 
the establishment *of Fort Lane was of short duration. 
The Indians having had time to consider the terms of the 
treaty in all its parts, were dissatisfied and insolent. On 

4 The names of those who received a pro rata of thirty-four and seventy-seven 
hundredths per cent out of the fifteen thousand dollars retained from the appropria 
tion to carry out the treaty of 1853, were : Martin Angell, John Anderson, James 
Abraham, Shertack Abraham, John Agy, Clinton Barney, John Benjamin, David N. 
Birdseye, Michael Brennan, Wm. N. Ballard, James Bruce, Cram, Rogers & Co., The- 
dosia Cameron, Silas Day, Edward Day, James R. Davis, Dunn & Alluding, Sigmond 
Enlinger, Wm. M. Elliott, David Evans, Daniel F. Fisher, Asa G. Fordyce, Thomas 
Frazzell, James B. Fryer, Galley & Oliver, John Gheen, Burrill B. Griffin, Sam Grubb, 
Hall& Burpee, David Hayhart, John R. Hardin, Obadiah D. Harris, Henry Ham, 
Mary Ann Hodgkins, Elias Huntington, Wm. M. Hughes, D. Irwin, Albert B. Jen- 
nison, Thomas P. Jewett, Wm. Kohler, Wm. S. King, Nicholas Kohenstein, Nathan 
B. Lane, James L. London, John Markley, Robert B. Metcalf, John S. Miller, Tra- 
veena McComb, McGreer, Drury & Runnel Is, James Mooney, Francis Nassarett, Win. 
Newton, Edith M. Nickel, Hiram Niday, John Patrick, Sylvester Pease, John Penne- 
ger, Dan Raymond, Eph. Raymond, John E. Ross, Lewis Rotherend, Frederick Rosen- 
stock, Henry Rowland, T. B. Sanderson, Freeman Smith, Pleasant W. Stone, John 
Swinden, George H. C. Taylor, James C. Tolman, William Thompson, John Triplett, 


the sixth of October a merchant of Jacksonville, James 
C. Kyle, a partner of Thomas Wills, who was murdered 
on August fifth, was also killed within two miles of Fort 
Lane. Soon after followed the news of the trouble with 
the lower Rogue-rivers already mentioned, resulting from 
the murder of three white men. Although these Indians 
were subdued, there was again awakened a feeling of un 
easiness, which was the precursor of further trouble. 

The change in the habits of the treaty Indians was fol 
lowed by sickness among them, which, being complained 
of, the agent allowed them greater liberty. As might have 
been foreseen, this liberty was abused, and the discontent 
on both sides deepened. The trial, conviction, and execu 
tion of the murderers of Edwards and Kyle in January 
did not tend to the cultivation of friendly relations. 5 

About the eighteenth of January, a party of Rogue- 
rivers, Shastas, and Modocs, led by chief Bill, stole the 
horses belonging to a mining camp on Cottonwood creek, 
driving them into the mountains. A company was has 
tily organized to go in pursuit and recover the horses. 
When on the trail they were shot at from ambush, and 
Hiram Hulan, John Clark, John Oldfield, and Wesley 
Mayden were killed. 

A messenger was dispatched to Fort Jones, then com 
manded by Captain Judah, who set out at once with 
twenty men, all his available force, to follow the trail of 

Wm. G. F. Vauk, Weller & Rose, Samuel Williams, Charles Williams, Isaac Woolen, 
and Jeremiah Yarnell. The settlers who gave up their improvements on the land 
reserved were David Evans, Matthew G. Kennedy, John G. Cook, William Hutchin- 
son, Charles Gray, Robert B. Metcalf, Jacob Gall, George H. C. Taylor, John M. Silcott, 
and James Lesley : Report of Superintendent Palmer, in United States house exe 
cutive documents, 52, pp. 3-5, thirty -eighth Congress, second session. 

6 The murderers, Indian Tom and Indian George, were indicted and had a fair 
trial. Having no counsel, the court appointed D. B. Brennan and P. P. Prim to de 
fend them. Agent Culver and Louis Denois acted as interpreters to the court and 
jury. The officers of the court were : O. B. McFadden, judge ; S. Sims, prosecuting 
attorney; Matthew G. Kennedy, sheriff; and Lycurgus Jackson, clerk. The jury 
impaneled were< S. D. Vandyke, Edward McCartie, T. Gregard, A. Davis, Robert 
Hasgadine, A. D. Lake, James Hamlin, Samuel Hall, Frederick Alberdine, F. Heber, 
and R. Henderson. The sentence of the court was that the convicted Indians should 
be hung on the nineteenth of February. The sentence was, however, on account of 
the troublesome times, carried out a few days after the trial. These were the only 
Indians ever punished for crime by the-authorities in southern Oregon. 


the Indians, which led him to a cave near the Klamath 
river, in which stronghold they had fortified themselves. 
In conjunction with a volunteer company under Greiger, 
captain, he reconnoitered the position, and finding it too 
strong to be taken without artillery, withdrew, and dis 
patched Lieutenant Crook and D. Sorrell to Fort Lane to 
bring up a mountain howitzer. Several days were occu 
pied in this expedition, Captain Smith arriving on the 
twenty-sixth with Lieutenant Ogle and fifteen dragoons. 
The regular force now amounted to thirty-eight, rank and 
file, and the volunteers numbered forty-five. Captain 
Judah falling ill, remained in camp with eight regulars 
and a few of Greiger s men, and on the twenty-seventh 
the attack was made. 

The cave occupied by the Indians was in the face of an 
almost perpendicular palisade, three hundred feet above 
the valley, the approach being in front and easily defended. 
Captain Greiger, with seventeen men, took his position on 
top, and the remainder of the volunteers, with Lieutenant 
Bonnycastle, with his command and the howitzer, were 
stationed in front. Owing to the angle at which the 
howitzer was fired it had no other effect than to frighten 
the Indians, who now cried out for peace, a prayer which 
Smith, who knew less about Indian fighting than he did a 
year or two later, was quite ready to grant. But to this 
the volunteers were unwilling to consent, saying the mur 
derers must be punished, and Smith after moving the gun 
to a different position fired a few more ineffectual shells. 
During the afternoon Greiger was struck by a shot from the 
cave and killed, to the great sorrow of his company, for he 
was an estimable man and useful citizen. 

Night coming on the forces encamped in front of the 
cave, and Bill sent three Indian women to ask for a talk, 
Captain Smith granting the request, and going to the cave 
the following morning with Eddy, a citizen, to hold the 
intervi-ew. He found, he says, 6 about fifty Shastas, who 

6 United States house executive documents, p. 88, thirty-fifth congress, second 


declared that they loved peace and had lived on terms of 
friendship with the white people about Yreka and Cotton- 
wood, but that the miners at the latter place had ill-treated 
their women, for which reason they had left that neigh 
borhood. 7 Accepting this apology for theft and murder, 
Captain Smith advised Bill to remain in his stronghold 
where he would be safe from the volunteers. On learning 
Smith s views, and there being no further prospect of 
bringing the Indians to justice, the volunteers returned 
home with the body of their captain, taking with them 
some Indian ponies. 

Troubles between the miners on the beaches between 
Port Orford and Coos bay and the Coquille Indians broke 
out in January, 1854. The following is a copy of the 
proceedings of a meeting called on the twenty-seventh 
of the month to consider the situation: 

At a meeting of the miners and citizens assembled at the Coquille 
ferry-house for the purpose of investigating Indian difficulties, the 
following resolutions were adopted. 

On motion, A. F. Soap was called to the chair, and Win. H. 
Packwood appointed secretary. 

All persons having observed any hostile movement of the Indians 
were called upon to state the facts. 

John A. Pension stated that he discovered, on the twenty-third 
instant, an Indian riding a horse up and down the beach. He went 
over to the Indian village to see whose horse it was. It proved to 
be a horse that Mr. Whike had ridden up from Port Orfoid. I ( Pen 
sion) took the horse from the Indian and went to the chief. He 
attempted to take the trappings off the horse. I would not allow 
him to do so, wanting them as proof of his conduct. I expostulated 
with them in regard to their conduct. They laughed at me and 
ordered me to clatawa. 

Mr. Whike, being present, corroborated the above statement. 

John A. Pension stated further : On the twenty-fourth instant 
there were three men on the other side of the river. I went over 
to ferry them across. They asked me the reason why the Indians 
wanted to drive them back ( to the mines ), and not let them cross 

7 It is undoubtedly true that some men among the miners treated the Indian 
women brutally ; but the Indians themselves sold their wives and daughters to them 
without shame. 


the river. An Indian present seemed to be in a great passion, using 
the words u God damn Americans " very frequently. 

Mr. Thomas Lowe corroborated the above statement. 

Mr. Malcolm stated that yesterday (the twenty-sixth instant) 
the Indian chief John shot into a crowd of men standing in front 
of the ferry-house at that time. 

Mr. Thomas Lowe and Mr. Whike corroborated the above state 

Mr. Whike and Thomas Lowe state that early this morning ( the 
twenty-seventh ) they discovered the rope by which the ferryboat 
was tied up to be cut in two, having been done in the night of the 
twenty-sixth instant. The boat would have been lost had it not 
been buoyed out. 8 

Mr. George H. Abbott stated : I came here yesterday evening 
(the twenty -sixth ), and finding difficulties existing between the 
whites and Indians, and having an interpreter with me, I sent for 
the chief for the purpose of having an explanation. He returned 
for answer that he would neither explain nor be friendly with 
the whites on any terms. I sent back the Indian the second time, 
insisting on an explanation. He (the chief ) sent back word that he 
would not come, nor give any explanation whatever, and that he 
would kill every white man that attempted to come to him, or go to 
his village; that he intended to kill the men at the ferry and destroy 
their houses; that he was going to rid his country of all white men; 
that it was no use talking to him, and that if they ( the whites ) 
would take out his heart and wash it, he would still be the same. 

Mr. George H. Abbott, interpreter: Interpretation of the above 
corroborated by John Grolouise ( half-breed). 

.Resolved, That the Indians in this vicinity are in a state of hos 
tility toward the whites from their own acknowledgements and 

Resolved, That tomorrow morning, the twenty -eighth instant, 
as early as possible, we will move upon and attack the Indian vil 

By vote, Geo. H. Abbott is elected captain of this expedition, A. 
F. Soap, first lieutenant, and Wm. H. Packwood, second lieutenant. 
(Signed.) A. F. SOAP, Chairman. 

WM. H. PACKWOOD, Secretary. 

Continuing the narrative of the proceedings following 
the meeting above reported, the following is an abstract of 
Captain Abbott s official report to Governor Davis: The 
Indian village (the same where T Vault s party was 
attacked in 1850), was situated on both sides of the river, 

8 The above-mentioned persons are the ferrymen at the Coquille river. 


about one and a half miles from the mouth, one part on 
the north, and two on the south side, the huts on the north 
side being situated on open ground, and easy of approach, 
while those on the south were in the edge of a thicket 
connecting with a heavy body of timber. 

It was supposed that if the Indians made a stand it 
would be at that part of the village occupied by the chief, 
namely, the lower division on the south side. Abbott 
divided his company into three detachments, Lieutenant 
Soap with one being sent to take position on a mound 
overlooking the village on the north side; Packwood took 
a circuitous route through the woods to a position close to 
the upper village on the south side, while Abbott ap 
proached the lower portion of it, also by a circuitous route. 
At a given signal, the firing of a rifle, a simultaneous 
attack was to be made. Except that Packwood did not 
get into position before the signal was given, all happened 
as had been planned, and before daylight the attack was 
made from three points. The Indians were completely 
surprised and unable to offer much resistance; some fled 
into the woods. Sixteen were killed and four wounded. 
Twenty old men, women, and children were captured, 
with their stores of provisions, and twelve canoes. Their 
huts containing their arms and ammunition were burned. 
" The Indians," wrote Abbott to the governor, " were thus 
severely chastised without any loss on the part of the 
whites, which will undoubtedly have a salutary effect on 
all the Indians inhabiting this coast from the Umpqua to 
Rogue river." 

After the massacre, for it could not be called a battle, 
whatever may be said of the necessity for such measures, 
Abbott sent three of the captive women to invite the chief 
to a peace-talk. He returned for answer that a great 
number of his people had been killed, and he was himself 
wounded; all he desired was peace, and the friendship of 
the white people for the remainder of his band. His heart 
he declared was changed, and Abbott was requested to 


send a chief of the Sixes-river band, who was in his camp, 
to him, with the assurance that it would be safe to do so, 
when he would come and talk, which he did the same 
day. A treaty of peace and friendship was entered into, 
the volunteers returning to their usual avocations. 

The same evening the miners and citizens held another 
meeting, Mr. McNamara in the chair, when it was 

Resolved, That whereas the Indians have been defeated, come in 
and sued for peace, and as they have met with considerable loss of 
life and property at our hands, we deem it suitable to return all their 
property, and the prisoners we have in our possession. 

Resolved, That two copies of the proceedings of the meetings of 
the last two days held by the miners and citizens be drawn up for 
the purpose of forwarding one copy to the governor of this territory, 
and one to the Indian agent at Port Orford. 

The Indian agent at Port Orford was S. M. Smith, who 
arrived at Coquille ferry on the day following this affair, 
in company with Lieutenant Kautz, and who, to quote 
from Abbott s report, "made every exertion to get to the 
scene of difficulties before hostilities commenced, but was 
there only in time to establish a more permanent under 
standing with the Indians, which he did in a manner 
highly creditable to himself as a public official." 

Reading between the lines of this praise of the govern 
ment officers, we might discover a purpose to forestall the 
efforts of Lieutenant Kautz and the agent, which in the 
opinion of the miners, founded on experience, would 
amount to nothing. 

On the thirtieth of January, in a public meeting at Ran 
dolph City, a short distance from Coquille ferry, H. R. 
Scott in the chair, and J. B. O Meally, secretary, the fol 
lowing proceedings were had : 


RANDOLPH CITY, 30th January, 1854. j 

In pursuance with the wishes of the citizens, a public meeting 
which was to be held yesterday was adjourned until today, when 
the meeting was held at Randolph City, in order to take into con 
sideration, and reconsider the resolutions that were passed and 
adopted here last Saturday, twenty-eighth instant, as well as the 


resolutions and proceedings passed and adopted at a public meeting 
held at Coquille river (the seat of war), which were read at this 
meeting today, and were sanctioned and highly approved, relative 
to the hostilities evinced by the Indians at Coquille against whites. 

Upon the meeting being called to order, H. R. Scott was ap 
pointed chairman, and J. B. O Meally, secretary, when the follow 
ing resolutions were passed and adopted : 

Resolved, Whereas the Indians in this vicinity have been vei*y 
troublesome for some time past, i. e., ever since the discovery of the 
mines, on account of their many thefts, it being unsafe to leave a 
house alone while the inhabitants were absent at work, the Indians 
being in the habit of ransacking such houses, taking all the pro 
visions and other articles such as they could conveniently secrete, 
and becoming more hostile in their movements every day ; and 
that the threatening attitude of the Indians a few days since at 
Coquille river called for immediate and decisive action ; and, as it 
was considered necessary for the safety of the lives and property of 
the citizens, that prompt and energetic measures should be taken, 

Resolved, That we consider the threatening and menacing aspect 
of the Indians at the Coquille river on the twenty-seventh and 
twenty -eighth, amounting to a declaration of war on their part. 

Resolved, That the prompt and timely action of the citizens and 
miners assembled at the Coquille river on the twenty-seventh and 
twenty-eighth instants, has struck a decisive blow, which we believe 
has quelled at the commencement an Indian war, which might 
have lasted for months, causing much bloodshed and expense to 
the people in general, and we have also ascertained that a large 
quantity of secreted firearms and powder was destroyed in the burn 
ing of the Indian villages. 

Resolved, That duplicates of the proceedings of this meeting be 
drawn up for publication, one copy to be sent to the Indian agent at 
Port Orford, and others to be transmitted to the different newspapers 
in Oregon and California ; and, it is further 

Resolved, That a copy of the resolutions passed and adopted at 
the meeting held last Saturday, twenty-eighth instant, at Randolph 
City, shall accompany the resolutions passed and adopted here 

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting are justly due and 
hereby given to our fellow-citizens who have behaved so nobly in 
suppressing with a small force of volunteers the Indians, on the 
twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth instants, at Coquille river, who 
had declared war, and from the most authentic information that we 
have obtained, after mature investigation, we have every reason to 
believe that the Indians were on the eve of commencing an out 
break against the whites. 

(Signed.) H. R. SCOTT, Chairman. 

J. B. O MEALLY, Secretary. 


Thus was checked, for the time being, an outbreak in 
this direction. Whether or not the presence of troops and 
a howitzer in the Rogue-river valley had the effect to 
restrain the rising discontent among the Indians, it is 
certain that in spite of it there were fewer murders by 
them in the summer of 1854 than for three } 7 ears previous. 
Edward Phillips, a miner on Applegate creek, was mur 
dered in his own house April fifteenth. Daniel Gage was 
killed on June fifteenth in the Siskiyou mountains. A 
man named McAmy was killed near DeWitt ferry, on the 
Klamath river, June twenty-fourth, and Thomas O Neal 
about the same time. Some time during the same month, 
or a little later, John Crittenden, John Badger, Alexander 
Sawyer, and a man named Wood, were murdered by the 
Modocs or Pit-river Indians on the southern immigrant 
road, at Gravelly ford, in the Humboldt valley; and in 
September, a Mr. Stewart of Corvallis, Oregon, was killed 
on the same road. On the second of November, Alfred 
French, formerly connected with the Chronicle newspaper 
at Independence, Missouri, was murdered by Indians near 
Crescent City. 

The murderers in every case escaped punishment, and 
so far as the officers of the regular army stationed in the 
country were concerned, were defended rather than chas 
tised, owing to a prejudiced and arbitrary sentiment 
towards civilians entertained by General Wool, at this 
time in command of the division of the Pacific. Whoever 
has read his correspondence with Adjutant-General Thomas 
must have perceived his strong bias against the people as 
distinguished from the army, from governor s down to the 
humblest citizen, and his especial dislike of volunteer 
organizations. The reports of the officers in command of 
posts in Oregon, California, and Washington, were colored 
by this feeling exhibited by the general of division, and 
their correspondence was too often distorted by their sense 
of what was expected of them by their chief. 

The murder of the persons named on the southern im- 


migrant road led to the fear that the Modocs might repeat 
the wholesale massacres of 1852. In the absence of a 
sufficient military force at the posts in Oregon, Governor 
Davis had written to General Wool for troops to perform 
the service of patrolling the roads both north and south, 
by which the immigration entered Oregon, but Wool was 
either unable or unwilling to furnish them. He did, how 
ever, reenforce Smith s squadron with a detachment of 
horse lately under Wright s command, which marched to 
Klamath lake and back, reporting no danger from Indians. 
The real service was performed for the southern route by 
a volunteer force under Jesse Walker, with the approba 
tion of acting Governor Curry. 

The cost of this expedition, which had no fighting to 
do, but which was probably a useful object lesson to the 
Indians, was forty-five thousand dollars. Its enemies 
named it the " Expedition to fight the immigrants," and 
denounced Quartermaster-General C. S. Drew and others 
as thieves on account of it. The regular army officers 
took up the cry, and declared the expedition unnecessary 
and a fraud upon the government, which must foot the 
bills. These accusations led to investigation as to the 
prices charged by the merchants of Yreka, who furnished 
the supplies, whose testimony was corroborated by the 
merchants of Jacksonville, showing the current prices 
during that year. A mass of evidence was collected at 
additional cost, 8 and years of delay in the settlement of 
accounts resulted. Forty-five thousand dollars was a large 
sum, but an Indian war would have cost more, to say noth 
ing of the loss of life; and the people of southern Oregon 
considered peace at any price worth all it cost. 

But the feeling of white men in Oregon who had lost 
friends or property, or both, were not soothed by the 
knowledge that General WooJ, in sending a reinforcement 
to Fort Lane, had declared it was not to protect the settlers 
and miners that troops were needed, but to protect the 

8 United States house miscellaneous documents, 47, pp. 32-35, thirty-fifth congress, 
second session. 


Indians against white men, and that for this latter pur 
pose the force in Oregon should be increased. His request 
to the secretary of war for more troops in his department 
accompanying such declarations, was as it should have 
been refused, and Oregon remained as it had for so many 
years been, undefended, except as the people to the best of 
their ability took care of themselves. 

In his correspondence with the war department, General 
Wool expressed the opinion that the immigration to Cali 
fornia and Oregon would soon render unnecessary those 
posts already established, and declared that if it were left 
to his discretion he should abolish them, namely, Forts 
Jones, Reading, and Miller in northern California, and 
Dalles and Lane in Oregon. In their place he would have 
a temporary post on Pit river, another on Puget sound, 
and possibly one in the Snake-river country. 

Of the inability of immigrants to protect themselves 
proof was furnished in the month of August near old Fort 
Boise, when a party of Kentuckians, numbering twenty- 
one men, women, and children, led by Alexander Ward, 
was attacked and massacred, only two boys being left alive, 
who were rescued. 

The horrors of the Ward massacre called for the imme 
diate chastisement of the Indians in the Boise country. 
There was at Fort Dalles, the nearest point where a soldier 
could be found, only a single company of men, under 
Major Granville 0. Haller. With about sixty of these, 
and a few citizens who chose to accompany the expedition, 
Major Haller took the road to Boise, if only to make a 
show on the part of the government, for the information of 
the Indians, of its desire and intention to protect its people 
and punish their destroyers. On Haller s arrival in the 
Snake country, the Indians, well advised of his move 
ments, had retired to the mountains where it was too late 
to attempt following them, and he could only march back 
to The Dalles. 


It is not necessary in this place to say more of the Boise 
affair than that Haller accomplished the following sum 
mer the hanging of the leaders of the massacre, returning 
to The Dalles in September, 1855, just in time to take part 
in a war nearer his post. 

But apropo of the discord between the civil and military 
authorities, Governor Curry, on learning that Haller s first 
expedition was not likely to accomplish anything, on the 
eighteenth of September, 1854, issued a proclamation 
calling for two companies of volunteers of sixty men each, 
to march to Boise and punish the Indians. These com 
panies were to be enlisted for six months, unless sooner 
discharged, and to furnish their own horses, equipments, 
arms, and ammunition, and choose their own officers, re 
porting to Brigadier-General Nesmith on the twenty-fifth. 
The governor issued commissions to George K. Sheil as 
assistant adjutant-general; to John McCracken as assistant 
quartermaster-general; and to Victor Trevitt as commis 
sary and quartermaster. But Nesmith, on learning that 
Colonel Bonneville of Fort Vancouver had refused a re 
quest of the governor for arms and supplies, giving it as 
his opinion that a winter campaign was neither necessary 
nor practicable, expressed a like opinion, and the call for 
for volunteers was withdrawn. Meanwhile, events were 
marching on. 



THE total military force in the department of the Pacific 
at the expiration of 1854 was twelve hundred, dragoons, 
infantry, and artillery, of which three hundred and 
thirty-five were stationed in Oregon and Washington. 
But others were under orders for the Pacific coast. The 
army bill had failed to pass in Congress, and only through 
smuggling a section into the appropriation bill providing 
for two more regiments of cavalry and two of infantry, was 
any increase in the army made possible. This was accom 
plished by the delegation from the Pacific; and it was 
further provided that arms should be distributed to the 
militia of the territories, according to the act of 1808, 
arming the militia of the states. No other or special pro 
vision was made for the defense of the northwest territories, 
and this was the military situation at the beginning of 

It should be noted before entering upon the recital of 
the events of this year that the superintendent of Indian 
affairs, Palmer, was able in the month of October preced 
ing to assure the tribes with whom he had made treaties 



that they had been ratified by congress, although with 
some amendments to which they gave their assent with 
evident reluctance. One of these allowed other tribes to 
be placed on their reservation an intrusion which the 
jealous nature of the Indian resents with bitterness; 
another, consolidated all the Rogue-river tribes in one 
an equally offensive measure for the same reason. 

Palmer had intended to remove the Indians of the 
Wallamet valley east of the Cascades, but found them un 
willing to go, and the Indians on the east side of the 
mountains unwilling to receive them on account of 
their diseased condition. As this was a reasonable ob 
jection from a civilized point of view, he gathered them 
upon a reservation called the Grand Rond, in the county 
of Polk, to the infinite disgust of the settlers in that 
district. But Palmer was a man who took his own way 
about things, and as he did his work thoroughly, without 
pother, those from whom he derived his authority seldom 
meddled with him. If he was arbitrary, he was generally 
in the right, and it saved a deal of trouble to give him the 
management. He had much ado to secure and keep 
worthy agents, on account of the small amount allowed 
them in salaries so small indeed as to offer an argument 
for, as well as an inducement to peculation. He had, 
however, at the different agencies such men as Philip F. 
Thompson, E. P. Drew, Nathan Olney (who succeeded 
Parrish), R. R. Thompson, W. W. Raymond, William J. 
Martin, and Robert Metcalf. S. H. Culver was superseded 
on the Rogue- river reservation by George H. Ambrose; 
and Ben Wright was appointed to the charge of the tribes 
on the southern coast. 

No treaties, other than the informal and temporary 
agreements made by Dr. White under the provisional 
government, had ever been made with the tribes of east 
ern Oregon or Washington; nor had the subject been ap 
proached when 1. 1. Stevens, the newly appointed governor 
of Washington crossed the country at the head of an ex- 


pedition surveying for a Pacific railroad route, and had 
conferred with several of the tribes on the north side of 
the Columbia concerning the sale of their lands. They 
had seemed well disposed towards the government and 
willing to sell, and Stevens had so reported. On the 
strength of this report Stevens and Palmer had been ap 
pointed commissioners to make treaties with these tribes, 
and money had been appropriated for the purpose. 

But in the time which had intervened between Stevens 
first appearance among them and the spring of 1855 many 
things had occurred to change the friendly feeling then 
expressed into one of doubt, if not of fear and hostility. 
For there are no greater gossips and newsmongers in the 
world than Indians, whose childish imaginations quickly 
seize upon any hint of coming events to distort and mag 
nify it. They had been alarmed by the rumor of Palmer s 
design of settling the Wallamet tribes east of the moun 
tains. They weie informed of the troubles in southern 
Oregon from the coast to Goose lake, and of the expedi 
tions sent out against the Modocs and against the Snakes. 
The Cay uses had not forgotten the tragedy of Waiilatpu, 
and their punishment; the Nez Perces were, as they had 
been always, cautious and conservative. It was, in truth, 
not a propitious time for treaty making with the powerful 
tribes of the trans-Cascades country. 

But the command having gone forth, Governor Stevens 
made some preliminary movements during the winter of 
1854-5, by sending among the Indians of eastern Wash 
ington, Mr. James Doty, already known to them as his 
trusted aid, who explained the nature of the council to 
which they were invited in May, securing their promises 
to be present, and also their assent to the proposition to 
purchase their lands, except such portions as they wished 
to reserve for their permanent homes. The first council 
was to be held with the Yakimas, Cayuses, Walla Wallas, 
and Nez Perces, in the Walla Walla valley, on an ancient 
council ground of the Yakima nation, selected by Kamia- 


kin, chief of this people, and about five miles distant from 

The goods and agricultural implements intended for 
presents to the chiefs, together with the necessary supplies 
for a large camp, were transported above The Dalles in 
keelboats, the first freight carriers on the upper Columbia 
river, and this their first freight. The goods were disem 
barked and stored at Fort Walla Walla of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, then in charge of Mr. James Sinclair. The 
commissioners were escorted from The Dalles to the council 
grounds by forty dragoons under Lieutenant Archibald 
Gracie, which force was raised to forty-seven by the ad 
dition en route of a squad which had been out for a week 
in the vain search for some Indian murderers. 

From Walla Walla, the commissioners repaired at once 
to the council ground, leaving their escort to follow. The 
spot selected proved to be a beautiful one, and was made 
comfortable by the erection of a long arbor for dining, 
supplied with tables made of logs split down the middle 
and placed upon rude trestles with the flat side up. Seats 
were similarly improvised, and the place made to wear a 
picturesquely inviting aspect. Plenty of time was allowed 
for these preparations and for the arrival of the military, 
that is to say, from the twentieth to the twenty-fourth, be 
fore the Indians, ever dilatory on such occasions, began to 

The first to arrive were chiefs Lawyer and Looking Glass 
of the Nez Perces, who encamped near the commissioners 
after having displayed with their followers in their war 
costume, the startling evolutions described in the account 
given by Dr. White s visit to the Nez Perces in 1843. Two 
days later the Cayuses arrived, making a similar display; 
and on the twenty-eighth the Yakimas, the whole assem 
blage numbering between four and five thousand persons, 
of both sexes and all ages. When all were assembled, 
two days more were consumed in the effort to get to busi 
ness, the majority of the Indians being sullenly opposed 


to the matter in hand, and some, especially the Cayuses, 
being evidently hostile, regarding the troops with scowling 

On the thirtieth, the council was finally opened and its 
object explained. But it was soon apparent to the com 
missioners that dealing with the tribes of the interior, 
healthy and robust, besides having had the benefit of the 
teaching and example of honorable traders and sincere 
Christian missionaries, was a more difficult matter far than 
making treaties with the decaying tribes of the Wallamet 
and lower Columbia, or the wild men of the southern 
Oregon valleys and coast. 

Watchful, shy, and reticent, little progress was made day 
after day in the negotiations. Speeches were delivered on 
both sides, and although glimpses of shrewdness, and bits 
of eloquence adorned some of them, they advanced the 
real issue not at all. Concerning the sale of the Cayuse 
lands, the head chief gave* utterance to the following 
fanciful thoughts: 

I wonder if the ground has anything to say? I wonder if the 
ground is listening to what is said. " ; I hear what the ground 
says. The ground says, "It is the Great Spirit which placed me 
here. The Great Spirit tells me to take care of the Indians, to feed 
them aright. The Great Spirit appointed the roots to feed the 
Indians on." The water says the same thing, "The Great Spirit 
directs me feed the Indians well." The grass says the same thing, 
"Feed the horses and cattle." The ground, water, and grass say, 
" The Great Spirit has given us our names. We have these names 
and hold them. Neither the Indians nor the whites have a right to 
change these names." The ground says, "The Great Spirit has 
placed me here to produce all that grows on me trees and fruit." 
The same way the ground says, " It was from me man was made." 
The Great Spirit in placing men on the earth desired them to take 
good care of the ground, and do each other no harm. The Great 
Spirit said, "You Indians who take care of certain portions of the 
country should not trade it off except you get a fair price." n 

This speech was as interesting as any, and in its closing 
sentence embodied the summing up, which in brief was an 

II Kips Indian Council, pp. 22- 26. 


effort to heighten the value of the lands, and claim the 
highest price, quite like more civilized men. 

But, claiming that their lands were worth a high price 
was not done expecting to sell ; it was only to discourage 
buying. Over and over the commissioners set forth the 
advantages to the red race of acquiring the knowledge to 
be imparted by the white race. Their logic and painstak 
ing explanations fell on closed ears. Owhi, a chief of the 
Yakimas and brother-in-law of Kamiakin, was wholly op 
posed to a treaty sale of the Yakima lands, as was Kam 
iakin also. Peu-peu-mox-mox had abandoned his usual 
deference to white men s views, and stood up bravely for 
the right of his race to hold the soil. The Cayuses were 
all against the treaty. Joseph and Looking Glass, war- 
chief of the Nez Perces, were opposed to it. Only Lawyer, 
who had been head chief of the Nez Perces ever since the 
Cayuse war, and the death of Ellis and Richard, threw his 
influence on the side of the commissioners, to whom his 
word had been given previous to the opening of the nego 

Two contrary opinions have been held concerning Law 
yer one, that he was vain and selfish, attaching himself 
to the power that could keep him in office; and the other, 
that he was a wise and shrewd politician, doing always 
what was best for his people. Probably he was a little of 
both, as Lieutenant Kip says: "I think it is doubtful if 
Lawyer could have held out but for his pride in his small 
sum of book lore, which inclined him to cling to his friend 
ship with the whites. In making a speech he was able to 
refer to the discovery of the continent by the Spaniards, 
and the story of Columbus making the egg stand on end. 
He related how the red men had receded before the white 
men in a manner that was hardly calculated to pour oil 
upon the troubled waters; yet, as his father had agreed 
with Lewis and Clarke to live in peace with the whites, he 
was in favor of making a treaty." 

The numerical strength of the Nez Perces was such that 



on securing their alliance depended the fate of the treaty, 
if indeed they escaped becoming involved in war on ac 
count of it, as at some points in the discussion seemed im 
minent. Even among the Nez Perces themselves there 
was discord. Looking Glass, from the time he appeared 
at the council, had been insolent in his behavior, and the 
little force of fifty troopers were kept ready for action in 
case of an outbreak. Joseph, who pretended to a more 
distinguished line of ancestry than Lawyer, and who 
thought he should have been high chief in his place, as 
he probably would have been but for the interference of 
the white admirers of Lawyer, determinedly refused to 
sign the treaty. 

The proposition in the treaty most difficult to gain ac 
ceptance was a common reservation for all the tribes pres 
ent in the Nez Perces country. Finding that this feature 
of the treaty would defeat it if further insisted upon, the 
commissioners finally proposed separate reservations in all 
the tribal lands, to which proposition there was a general 
and apparently a cordial assent. Kamiakin only would 
agree to nothing. When pressed by Stevens to express his 
views, he exclaimed, "What have I to say?" and relapsed 
into sullen silence. Two days afterwards, on the eleventh 
of June, he signed the treaty along with all the other 
chiefs, giving as a reason for his change of purpose that 
he did it for the good of his people. Joseph, some years 
later, denied having signed this treaty, and pretended to 
the ownership of the Wallowa valley in Oregon, a claim 
not justified by the facts, 12 but asserted by his son, Young 
Joseph, and made the basis of a bloody war in 1877. 

The Nez Perces received for their lands outside an ample 
reservation, two hundred thousand dollars in annuities; 
the Cayuses and Walla W T allas were united and given a 
reservation in the beautiful Umatilla valley, and received 
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The Yakimas 
received the same as the Nez Perces, and were allowed the 

12 Woods Status of Young Joseph, etc., p. 36. 


best lands on the south side of the Yakima river. In each 
case there was the express provision that all the lands not 
included in the reservations were open to settlement from 
thenceforward, excepting those improved by the Indians 
who were to receive pay for such. Mills, schools, mechanic 
arts, and all the usual aids to civilization were assured. 
A year was allowed in which to remove to the reservation, 
and accustom themselves to their new conditions. In short, 
the treaty as a treaty was irreproachable, although those 
concerned in framing it had been at so much trouble to 
secure its acceptance. 

The demeanor of the chiefs after signing was cordial, 
many of them expressing their thankfulness that the nego 
tiations had ended so happily. The goods intended for 
presents were distributed; agents were appointed, R. R. 
Thompson to the Umatilla; W. H. Tappan to the Nez 
Perce; and A. J. Bolan to the Yakima reservation. 

On the sixteenth of June, Stevens proceeded northward 
to treat with the Spokanes, Coeur d Alenes, and other tribes 
in Washington territory, while Palmer returned to The 
Dalles, making treaties with the tribes between Powder 
river and the Cascade range, purchasing all the land in 
eastern Oregon north of the forty-fourth parallel, and as 
signing the Indians to a reservation including the Tyghe 
valley, and some warm springs, from which it took its 
name of Warm Springs reservation. 

After accomplishing all this really arduous work, Palmer 
returned home, well pleased to have succeeded so well and 
entirely unaware that he, with all his party and the troops, 
had barely escaped massacre at the council grounds in the 
Walla Walla valley through the refusal of Lawyer to con 
sent to the treachery. Such, the Nez Perces afterwards de 
clared was the truth, and the demeanor of the Cayuses and 
Yakimas certainly sustained the charge. 

It has since been alleged in palliation that the treaties 
were forced upon the Indians; that their objections were 
not regarded ; that a general council furnished the oppor- 


tunity and the temptation for intrigue; that the commis 
sioners should have been escorted by a larger body of troops 
and have been surrounded by every impressive ceremonial, 
this being the way to make sa.vages as well as civilized 
men respectful. Quien Sabc? It was well at any rate that 
Lawyer was able to avert the blow. 

While the superintendent of Indian affairs was busied 
with treaty making in the north, trouble was again brew 
ing in southern Oregon. Following some minor disturb 
ances, on June first Jerome Dyar and Daniel McKaw were 
murdered on the road between Jacksonville and Illinois 
valley. On various pretenses the Indians, especially those 
living formerly on Applegate creek and Illinois river, 
roamed about the country off the reservation, and in June 
a party of them made a descent on a mining camp, killing 
several men and capturing property of considerable value. 

A volunteer company calling themselves the "Independ 
ent Rangers" was organized at Wait s mill in Rogue-river 
valley, and commanded by H. B. Hayes, who reported to 
John E. Ross, colonel of the territorial militia, for recogni 
tion, which went in pursuit of the guilty Indians. This 
was the first organization of any military company since 
the treaty with the Rogue-rivers in 1853. The agent on 
the reservation hearing of the movement, notified Captain 
Smith of Fort Lane, who took out his dragoons and 
gathered up all the straying Indians he could find, brought 
them back to the reservation where they were safe. A 
portion of them who were not brought in were pursued 
into the mountains, and one killed, A skirmish took 
place, in which a white man, one Philpot, was killed, and 
several horses wounded. Skirmishing continued for a 
week, without very serious results on either side. 

In August, a white man having sold a bottle of whisky 
to some strolling Indians from the reservation, they 
attacked a party of miners on the Klamath, killing John 
Pollock, William Hennessey, Peter Heinrich, Thomas 


Gray, Edward Parrish, John L. Fickas, F. D. Mattice, T. 
D. Mattice, and two other men known as Raymond and 
Pedro. Several Indians were also killed in the fight. 

A company of volunteers was organized on the south 
side of the Siskiyous, and commanded by William Martin, 
proceeded to the reservation, and demanded the surrender 
of the murderers, which demand Captain Smith refused 
on technical grounds. He could not deliver persons 
charged with crime into the hands of a merely voluntary 
assemblage of men. Later, however, in November, some 
arrests were made on a requisition from Siskiyou county. 

Another affair in the month of August produced a 
strong feeling against the military even more than the 
Indians. An Indian in the Port Orford district shot at 
and wounded James Buford near the mouth of Rogue 
river. Ben Wright, the agent, delivered the Indian to 
the sheriff of Coos county, who, having no place in which 
to confine his prisoner, delivered him to a squad of soldiers 
to be taken to Port Orford and placed in the guardhouse. 
While the canoe containing the prisoner and his guards 
was passing up the river to a place of encampment, it was 
followed by Buford, his partner Hawkins, and O Brien, a 
trader, determined to give the Indian no chance of escape 
through the sympathy of the military authorities. Watch 
ing their opportunity they fired upon the canoe, killing 
the prisoner and another Indian. The fire was promptly 
returned by the soldiers, who killed at once two of the 
white men, and mortally wounded the third. 

The indignation aroused by this affair against the mili 
tary was intense. The cooler heads saw that technically 
the soldiers were in the right; but the majority could not 
perceive the propriety of putting white men on a par with 
Indians. Even an Indian, they felt sure, would never 
have shot down men of his own race in defense of white 
men. A contempt, too, for military dignity was supplant 
ing respect. An Indian had shot into a crowd in which 


Lieutenant Kautz was standing, the ball passing so near 
that Kautz believed himself to be struck, and fell to his 
knees. On examination it was shown that the bullet had 
not touched the lieutenant, and that he had fallen simply 
from the nervous shock of a belief in a wound. This in 
cident was greatly enjoyed by civilians, and helped to allay 
some of the irritation in the public mind of this part of 
the country. But, although soberer counsels prevailed 
over an inclination to fight both soldiers and Indians, 
there was in the air that threat of something to come 
which would not allow of rest either to the white or the 
red man. 

On the second of September, Greenville M. Keene of 
Tennessee was killed on the reservation while attempting, 
with several others, to recover some stolen horses. Two of 
the party were wounded and forced to retreat. On the 
twenty-fourth, Calvin Fields of Iowa and John Cunning 
ham of Sauve Island, Oregon, were killed, and Harrison 
Oatman and Daniel Britton wounded, while crossing the 
Siskiyou mountains with loaded teams. Their eighteen 
oxen were also slain. Captain Smith on receiving the 
news ordered out a detachment, but was unable to make 
any arrests. On the twenty-fifth, Samuel Warner was 
killed near the same place. 

Notwithstanding these acts of hostility, such as usually 
precede a general outbreak, Agent Ambrose occupied him 
self in writing letters for the public press over the signa 
ture of "A Miner," in which he declared the innocency of 
the reservation Indians and their good disposition towards 
the white inhabitants. "God knows," he said, "I would 
not care how soon they were all dead, and I believe the 
country would be greatly benefited by it, but I am tired of 
this senseless railing against Captain Smith and the In 
dian agent for doing their duty, obeying the laws, and 
preserving our valley from the horrors of a war with a 
tribe of Indians who do not desire it, but wish for peace, 
and by their conduct have shown it." The nom de plume 


of "Miner" did not long deceive any one in southern 
Oregon; nor the affectation of sentiments often ascribed 
to miners in the first lines of this paragraph, tend to con 
ciliate this class. 

Early in October a party of roving reservation Indians 
were discovered encamped near the mouth of Butte creek, 
on Rogue river, and it was suspected that among them 
were some who had been annoying the settlers. Upon 
this suspicion a company of about thirty men, commanded 
by J. A. Lupton, proceeded before daybreak on the eighth 
of October to attack this camp, which was surprised and 
terribly chastised, twenty-three being killed and many 
wounded before it was learned that the majority of the 
victims were non-combatanls, or old men, women, and 
children. The survivors took refuge at Fort Lane, where 
their wounds, and their wailings for their dead, excited 
much pity in the breasts of Captain Smith and his troopers, 
who went out to view the field after the slaughter, instead 
of preventing it. In this affair Lupton, who was major of 
militia, was killed, and eleven of his company wounded, a 
proof that the Indians were not all unarmed. 

This occurred on the morning of the eighth of October. 
It has been sometimes alleged that the events following 011 
the ninth were the immediate outcome of the attack at 
Butte creek, but such could not have been the case. 
Savages do not move with such celerity. They could not 
have armed and organized in a day, and must for some 
time have been making preparations for war before they 
could have ventured upon it. Armed Indians were by 
the treaty made suspects, and to have been armed and 
supplied with ammunition evidenced a long period of 
looking forward to an outbreak. The reservation and 
Fort Lane favored such an intention. The former was a 
safe hiding place, and the latter a refuge in case of detec 
tion or pursuit. 

On the night of the eighth two men were killed and 
another wounded, who were in charge of a pack train at 


Jewett s ferry. Jewett s house was fired upon, but no one 
killed. A considerable number of Indians had gathered, 
apparently by concert, near this place, who about day 
break proceeded down the river to Evans ferry, where 
they found Isaac Shelton of the Wallamet valley on his 
way to Yreka, and mortally wounded him. Still further 
down was the house of J. K. Jones, whom they killed; 
also mortally wounding his wife, and pillaging and burn 
ing his house. 

Below this place was the house of J. Wagoner. On the 
the way to it the Indians killed four men. Mr. Wagoner 
was absent from his home, having gone that morning to 
escort Miss Pellet, a temperance lecturer, from Buffalo, New 
York, to Sailor diggings. The fate of Mrs. Wagoner and 
her four-year-old daughter, Mary, was never certainly 
known, the house and all in it having been burned. She 
was a young and beautiful woman, well educated and re 
fined, and the uncertainty concerning her death or the 
manner of it was a horrible torture to her husband, who 
survived her. One story told by the Indians themselves, 
was that she fastened herself in her house, carefully dressed 
as if for a sacrifice, and seating herself in the center 
of the sitting-room with her child in her arms, awaited 
death, which came to her by fire. But others said, and 
probably with truth, that she was carried off, and her child 
killed because it cried so much. The mother refused to 
eat, and died of grief and starvation at "The Meadows." 
Captain Wallen has said that two scalps captured from the 
Indians at the battle of Cow creek in 1856 were identified 
as those of Mrs. Wagoner and her child, the mother s beau 
tiful hair being unmistakable; and the Indian stories may 
none be the actual truth. 

From the smoking ruins of the Wagoner home, the In 
dians proceeded to the place of George W. Harris, who be 
ing at a little distance from his house and suspecting from 
their appearance that they meant to attack him, ran quickly 
in and seized his gun. As they came on with hostile words 


and actions he shot one, and wounded another from his 
doorway, where he was himself shot down a few moments 
later, leaving his wife and little daughter to defend them 
selves, which they did for twenty-four hours, before help 

Dragging her husband s body inside and barring the 
door, Mrs. Harris instructed her daughter how to make 
bullets, while she stood guard and prevented the Indians 
from approaching too near the house by firing through 
cracks in the walls at every one detected in the attempt to 
reach it. In this painfully solicitous manner she kept off 
the enemy until dark, when they withdrew. Alone with 
her husband s dead body, and her weary and frightened 
child, she spent the long night. Fearing that the Indians 
would return with reinforcements in the morning, towards 
dawn she stole forth, locking the house behind her, and 
concealed herself and daughter under a pile of brush at 
no great distance away, where she was found, blackened 
with powder and stained with blood, many hours later by 
a detachment of troops under Major Fitzgerald. 13 

The other victims of the outbreak of the ninth of Octo 
ber were: Mr. and Mrs. Haines and two children, Frank 
A. Reed, William Given, James W. Cartwright, Powell, 
Bunch, Hamilton, Fox, White, and others, on the road 
between Evans ferry and Grave creek; two young women, 
Miss Hudson and Miss Wilson, on the road between Indian 
creek and Crescent City; and three men on Grave creek? 
below the road. It was altogether the bloodiest day the 
valley had ever seen. 

When the news that the settlements were attacked 
reached Jacksonville, a company of twenty men quickly 
armed and took the trail of the Indians. They were over 
taken and joined by Major Fitzgerald with fifty-five troop 
ers from Fort Lane. On arriving at Wagoner s place they 
found thirty Indians engaged in plundering the premises, 

13 Mrs. Harris afterwards married Aaron Chambers. She died in Jackson county 
in 1869, highly respected by the community. 


who, when the volunteers the first on the ground ap 
peared, greeted them with derisive yells, dancing, and in 
sulting gestures; but when they beheld the dragoons, fled 
precipitately towards the mountains. A pursuit of two or 
three miles proved unavailing, the troop horses being jaded 
by a long march ; and after patrolling the road for several 
hours, Fitzgerald returned to Fort Lane and the volun 
teers to their homes to make ready for the prolonged con 
test which was evidently before them. 

An express, carried by T. McFadden Patton, was already 
well on the road to the seat of government to inform the 
governor, the superintendent of Indian affairs, and the 
military authorities at Vancouver of the condition of affairs 
in the south. So far, however, were the latter from being 
able to afford any aid, that an express was at that very 
time on the road to Fort Lane with a requisition for troops 
to be used in the north, as we shall see hereafter. 

On the tenth of October, Lieutenant Kautz had set out 
from Port Orford with a party of citizens and soldiers to 
make an examination of a proposed route for a wagon 
road from that place to Jacksonville. At the great bend 
of Rogue river, thirty miles from the coast, he found the 
settlers in much alarm at a threatened attack from the In 
dians on Applegate creek, and returned to the fort for a 
larger supply of arms and ammunition, to enable him to 
engage the hostiles should they be met with. A few days 
after resuming his march he was attacked, and fought, 
losing five of his company, three citizens and two soldiers. 
He was barely able to secure an orderly retreat with the 
remainder of his party, and the Indians were only pre 
vented from securing a considerable amount of ammuni 
tion by his caution in unloading the pack animals at the 
beginning of the engagement. 

In looking over the field it was perceived that all the 
Indians in the country from Yreka to the Umpqua canon, 
and from the coast to Modoc land, were hostile, with the 


exception of Sam and his band, who, since the treaty of 
1853, had apparently kept faith with the government. 
But so subtile is the Indian character that few trusted in 
this appearance. For while even one chief is friendly the 
treaty payments go on; the reservation is a refuge from 
avenging pursuit of robbers and murderers, and the pro 
tection of government troops is accorded so long as any 
portion of a tribe remains true to its obligations. It is, 
therefore, plainly to the interest of the Indians contem 
plating mischief to possess the privileges of a reservation, 
and the fact that a considerable portion of a tribe makes 
its home there, is no security against hostilities by the 
lusty warriors, who are excused by their chiefs on account 
of youth for the commission of acts of a criminal nature. 
This lesson had been impressed upon the people by the 
events of the past few years, and rilled them with doubt 
concerning any Indian probity. 

It now behooved the inhabitants of southern Oregon to 
prepare to meet the emergency. Estimating the number 
of Indians who could be called warriors at no more than 
four hundred, four times that number of white men would 
be required to subdue them on account of their better 
knowledge of the country, their ability to appear simul 
taneously at several points, and of disappearing rapidly 
on the approach of troops, wearing out the horses and 
men engaged in pursuit. They were, besides, well armed 
and supplied with ammunition; whereas the volunteers 
had neither in any amount. The men mustered between 
the ninth and eleventh only numbered one hundred and 
fifty, because no more could be armed. The Indians had 
slyly bought up all the rifles and revolvers in the country, 
and were skilled in the use of them. The only thing that 
was attempted for several days was to protect the most 
exposed settlements, and keep open the roads north and 

A company of which J. S. Rinearson was captain, was 
on the tenth, divided into squads, and sent, ten to the 


mouth of the Umpqua canon, five three miles south to 
Leving s place, five to Turner s, seven miles further south, 
and six to the Grave-creek house. On the eleventh, thirty 
men made a scout down Rogue river to the mouth of 
Galice creek, twelve of them having no other arms than 
pistols. They were provisioned, blanketed, and sometimes 
armed by the settlers they served. 

The United States troops in southern Oregon at this 
time were two full companies of dragoons at Fort Lane, 
under Major Fitzgerald and Captain Smith, and sixty-four 
infantry at Winchester, in the Umpqua valley, under Lieu 
tenant Gibson, escort to Lieutenant Williamson on his 
survey of a railroad route from the Sacramento to the 
Wallamet, and who now retraced his steps to Fort Lane. 
The small garrison at Port Orford was not available, and 
Fitzgerald s company was ordered north before troops were 
put in the field here, leaving one company of dragoons 
and one of infantry to defend the isolated southern divis 
ion of the territory. 

On the twelfth of October, Colonel John E. Ross of the 
ninth regiment of Oregon militia ordered Major James H. 
Russell to report to him without delay. Some captains of 
militia were already in the field, while other companies 
were commanded by any men who had the qualities of a 
leader, and on the application of citizens, these were duly 
commissioned. At the request of M. C. Barkwell, a com 
pany was raised by R. L. Williams for the protection of 
his neighborhood. The settlers at Althouse, on Illinois 
river, petitioned to have Theoron Crook empowered to 
raise a company to range the mountains in that vicinity. 14 

14 This petition was signed by Hiram Rice, J. J. Rote, Frederick Rhoda, Lucius D. 
Hart, S. Matthews, Charles F. Wilson, Elias Winkleback, S. P. Duggan, John Morrow, 
Allen Knapp, W. H. B. Douglas, William Lane, J. T. Mann, George H. Grayson, R. T. 
Brickley, J. H. Huston, L. Coffey, H. Kaston, John Murphy, B. B. Brockway, A, L. 
Scott, George W. Comegys, James C. Castleman, D. D. Drake, John R. Hale, E. R. 
Crane, Alden Whitney, Joshua Harlan, S. H. Harper, M. P. Howard, R. S. A. Colwell, 
George Lake, Thomas Lake, George Coblence, Jacob Randbush, Peter Colean, U. S. 
Barr, William Lance, Robert Rose, N. D. Palmer, James Hale, E. D. Cohen, Sigmund 
Heilner, William Chapman, John E. Post, John W. Merideth, A. More, Thomas Ford, 


The settlers and miners of Phoenix mills, 15 Illinois valley, 
Deer creek, and Galice creek, also petitioned for permission 
to raise companies for defense, and the outlying settlements 
prayed for guards to be sent them. 

The volunteer companies raised before the twentieth 
numbered fifteen. Of twelve of them the following infor 
mation has been preserved: T. S. Harris, captain of 
company A; James Bruce, company B; J. S. Rinearson, 
company C. Rinearson s lieutenants were W. P. Wing, I. 
N. Bentley, and R. W. Henry. R. L. Williams was captain 
of company D; E. B. Stone, first lieutenant, and E. K. 
Elliott, sergeant. W. B. Lewis was captain of company 
E; his lieutenants, W. A. J. Moore and . White; his ser 
geant, I. D. Adams. A. S. Welton was captain of company 
F; Miles T. Alcorn, captain of company G, his lieutenant 
being J. M. Osborne. W. A. Wilkinson was captain of 
company H; T. Smith, captain of company f : S. A. Frye, 
captain of company K ; Abel George, captain of company 
L, and F. R. Hill, captain of company M. The names of 
Orrin Root, T. J. Gardner, M. M. Williams, M. P. Howard, 
and . Hayes appear in official correspondence as captains ; 
the names of Daniel Richardson, H. P. Conroy, and . 
Morrison as lieutenants, and W. M. Evans as orderly 
sergeant. C. S. Drew was appointed adjutant; C. West- 
feldt, quartermaster and commissary, and C. B. Brooks, 
surgeon. J. B. Wagoner and John Hillman were em 
ployed in the dangerous duty of express riding, Wagoner 
remaining in the service as long as the first volunteer 
organization lasted. Other names here preserved are those 
that have cropped up in the correspondence gathered to 

and . Gilharts. This list is copied from B. F. Do well s collection of Indian war 
documents, from which, too, many facts have been drawn for this history. 

15 The petition from Phoenix mills was signed by S. M. Waite (founder of Waits- 
burg, Washington ), Samuel Colver, Joseph Tracy, Jarius F. Kennedy, M. M. Williams, 
and J. T. Gray. The petitioners from Illinois valley and Deer creek were : John D. 
Post, William Chapman, G. E. Briggs, J. N. Knight, A. J. Henderson, William B. Hay, 
L. Reeves, Joseph Kirby, R. T. Olds. Samuel White, William E. Randolph, Frederick 
Rhoda, L. D. Hart, Alexander McBride, C. C. Luther, S. Scott, O. E. Riley, J. T. L. 
Mills, and . Coltinell : Copied from B. F. Dowell s Indian icar documents. 


assist in the collection of Indian war claims by B. F. 
Dowell of Jacksonville, already referred to in a previous 

Considering the obstacles to be overcome, and the perils 
of the service, the organization of the ninth regiment by 
Colonel Ross was creditable to that officer and the men 
enlisted. As fast as they could be armed, men were sent 
to guard exposed settlements, and scouts were kept on the 
move, looking for the enemy, as well as detachments 
ordered to attend pack trains on the roads leading from 
Crescent City to the various mining camps, or from Jack 
sonville to the volunteer camps; for the Indians must now 
depend chiefly upon what they could capture for their 

The first engagement between the volunteers and In 
dians occurred on the seventeenth of October, at Skull 
bar of Rogue river, a short distance below the mouth of 
Galice creek, where company E was encamped. In camp 
were gathered all the miners from the diggings in the 
vicinity, including some Chinese who had been driven 
from their claims, besides some captive Indian women 
and boys. 

Skull bar lay on the south side of the river and had for 
a background a high ridge, covered with a dense growth 
of hazel and young firs. The thickets had been cut away 
for some distance that no lurking places for the foe might 
be afforded within rifle shot of the camp, and a breast 
work of logs thrown up on the side most open to attack. 

It was discovered on the day above-mentioned that the 
forest on the hillside was swarming with Indians, and to 
drive them back J. W. Pickett, with six men, charged the 
bushes. He was received with a galling fire, and fell, his 
men being forced to retreat. Lieutenant Moore then took 
a position, sheltered by a bank, on that side of camp from 
which attack seemed most imminent, where he fought for 
four hours under a heavy fire, himself and nearly half his 


men being wounded, when they also were compelled to re 
treat. Captain Lewis was himself three times struck and 
severely wounded. 

The Indians discovering that the weakest point in the 
volunteer position was on its left, made a bold attack in 
that quarter, but lost by it one of their most powerful 
Shasta warriors, which incident for a brief space operated 
as a check. Then, finding that the volunteers were not dis 
lodged with rifle balls, they shot lighted arrows into their 
camp, giving them much ado to prevent a conflagration. 
Indeed, during the fighting the mining town of Galice 
Creek was consumed, with the exception of one building, 
occupied as the company s headquarters. When night 
closed in, nearly one-third of company E were hors de 
combat. The killed were J. W. Pickett and Samuel Saun- 
ders; the mortally wounded, Benjamin Taft and Israel D. 
Adams; the severely wounded, Lieutenant Moore, Allen 
Evans, Milton Blackledge, Joseph Umpqua, John Ericson, 
and Captain Lewis. In his report to his colonel, Lewis 
boasted that he had "fought the hardest battle ever fought 
this side of the Rocky mountains." More than two thou 
sand five hundred shots had the enemy fired that day, 
but his men had not flinched. Two facts are brought to 
light by this report one, that the camp was ill chosen; 
the other, that the Indians possessed an abundance of am 
munition which they must have been a year in gathering. 

Such was the facility with which the Indians, knowing 
every part of the country, could move undetected from 
point to point, that while the regulars under Captain 
Judah, and volunteers under Bruce and Harris, were in 
hot pursuit of, without finding the enemy, they were 
appearing and vanishing in a manner so illusory as to 
bewilder the military authorities, whether local or national. 
At the very time that Colonel Ross announced his opinion, 
upon evidence, that the main strength of the Indians was 
centered at "The Meadows," a narrow stretch of bottom 
land below Galice creek, where mountains rise on either 


side of Rogue river high, craggy, timbered for the most 
part densely with live-oak, manzanita, chinquapin, and 
chaparral, with occasional bald, grassy slopes, the meadows 
being covered with rank grass and shrubs, on which cat 
tle could subsist even in winter, they were away on Cow 
creek committing depredations. 

On the twenty-third, while a party of wagoners and 
drovers were at the crossing, they were ambushed and 
attacked; Holland Bailey of Lane county being killed, 
and four others wounded. The remainder of the party 
retreated with all the haste possible, pursued and har- 
rassed for several hours. On the same day the houses of 
Turner, Bray, Redfield, Fortune, and others in Cow-creek 
valley were burned. It was impossible to guard every 
settler s home, but the families were gathered at a few for 
tified places, while the men were on duty elsewhere, and 
the Indians were destroying their property. Not a settle 
ment but was threatened, not a pack train on the road but 
was liable to capture, nor any traveler s life safe. 16 

This condition of affairs prevented any concerted action, 
had it been desired, between the regular and volunteer 
forces; or any massing of their strength, but kept both in 
rapid and exhausting movement. 

However, on the twenty-eighth, Fitzgerald, being in the 
Grave-creek hills, south of Cow creek, discovered an Indian 
encampment, and wishing to attack it sent a dispatch to 
Ross, who immediately ordered Captains Harris, Welton, 
George, Williams, and Lewis to reenforce him. Bruce and 
Rinearson coming in a little later, were also ordered to 
Grave creek, where on the thirtieth, were concentrated two 
hundred and fifty volunteers, and one hundred and five 

10 The following incident, illustrative of the times, is furnished by John Wallen, 
later a captain in the volunteer force : Ivens train was ahead, my own next, Lin- 
ville came behind me, then Fox and Templeton, and last a Spanish train. As we 
started down the mountain the Indians fired upon the trains. I had dismounted, 
and as the firing commenced I sprang upon the bell pony, which was passing me 
without a rider, and started in a run down the mountain. I passed Ivens, and soon 
Linville passed me. When we reached a place of safety I found all had escaped 
unhurt except Ivens, who was slightly wounded, and had his clothes riddled with 


regulars, although on account of the illness of Fitzgerald, 
only a portion of his troops were available. 

When Ross arrived at the rendezvous late that night, 
he found Captain Smith of the first dragoons impatient to 
attack. Spies from his own and the volunteer force had 
found the enemy s position to be on a hill difficult of 
approach, and well fortified. A map had been made for 
use by the officers, and Smith assumed command of the 
combined forces. Although it was already half past ten 
o clock in the evening, orders were issued to march at 

Smith s plan was to plant howitzers on an eminence 
three-fourths of a mile from that occupied by the Indians, 
and having divided the companies into three columns, 
stationed so as to enclose the Indians, to open his battery 
upon them before he had been discovered. His design 
was frustrated through some one having set fire to a tree, 
and after a toilsome night march he was unable to surprise 
the enemy. On arriving on the edge of a ravine in front 
of the enemy s position, instead of shelling the Indians in 
their stronghold, a charge was ordered. The hill on which 
the Indians were fortified was bald on the south side, by 
which the troops were approaching, except for a short but 
tangled undergrowth with which also the ravine they had 
to cross was filled. On the north of the Indian position 
there was a heavy forest. 

It should be here stated that an unexpected reenforce- 
ment had arrived during the night, consisting of two 
companies of a battalion called out by Governor Curry ; 
their captains being Joseph Bailey and Samuel Gordon. 
To these two companies was assigned the duty of flanking 

bullets. The bell boy had mounted a fast horse, and lying low on his back had not 
been hit. The Indians captured six mules belonging to Ivens, fifty to Fox and Tem- 
pleton, and forty-one to me, with the packs, which cost me five thousand and one 
hundred dollars. We had a number of cases of bullets and several kegs of powder, 
also nails. The Indians opened one keg, and finding it contained nails, supposed 
the others were also nail kegs, and left them unopened. Six days after they attacked 
Althouse on Galice creek, Ivens and Sanders being unable to escape for several days; 
also the Applegate house, which was guarded by Wylie, French, Haines, and Louton. 



on the north to intercept the Indians in the woods when 
the charging force should have driven them from their 

The captains who led in the charge were Binearson and 
Welton, their companies being augmented by portions of 
others, and a part of the regular force also, all rushing 
with eagerness to fire the first shot. As had been antici 
pated, the Indians took shelter in the woods, but were not 
met by Bailey and Gordon as designed, their men finding 
it impossible to penetrate the dense and tangled under 
wood in a body; and were not driven back upon the com 
panies of Harris and Bruce, who were awaiting them in 
concealment, as had been anticipated. These two com 
manders therefore joined the army in front. Thus nothing 
happened but the unexpected. 

The day passed in vain efforts to get at the Indians, who 
could not be approached without extreme peril, until three 
o clock in the afternoon, when Captain Smith, with a small 
force of dragoons, made an assault. Several rounds were 
discharged with the short cavalry arms, which were wholly 
ineffectual against the rifles of the Indians, when the 
troopers fell back, having several killed and wounded. 
Firing continued until dark, when the whole force went 
into camp at a place named by them "Bloody Spring," 
where the wounded were being cared for, and where they 
all went supperless to their blankets. 

At sunrise the next morning the Indians attacked and 
engaged the troops for several hours, when, being repulsed, 
they withdrew. The troops then marched back to Fort 
Bailey on Grave creek, bearing their w^ounded on litters. 
In this battle the volunteers lost twenty-six men killed, 
wounded, and missing. Company A lost Jonathan A. 
Pedigo, mortally wounded, and Ira May field, L. F. Allen, 
William Purnell, Williams Hans, John Goldsby, and 
Thomas Gill, wounded severely. Company B, Charles 
Goodwin, wounded mortally. Company C, Henry Pearl, 
Jacob W. Miller, and James Pearcy killed ; Enoch Miller, 


W. H. Crouch, and Ephriam Yager wounded. Company 
D, John Winters killed; John Stannes, and Thomas Ryan 
wounded. Company F, John Kennedy mortally wounded. 
The company of Captain Bailey lost John Gillespie, killed ; 
John Walden, John C. Richardson, James Laphar, Thomas 
J. Aubrey, and John Pankey wounded. Gordon s company 
had Hawkins Shelton, J. M. Fordyce, and William Wilson 
wounded. The regular troops lost three killed in action, 
one by accident, and seven wounded, among whom was 
Lieutenant Gibson. The Indian loss could not be known, 
but was much less than that of the volunteers, as from the 
nature of their relative positions it must be. Thus the 
second battle with a considerable Indian force was fought 
with a great sacrifice of life, 17 and without any gain in 
peace or possessions. "God only knows," wrote a corre 
spondent of the Oregon Statesman, "when or where this 
war may end. * * * These mountains are worse than 
the swamps of Florida." 

We come now to consider some collateral circumstances 
and influences affecting the management and the morale 
of the war. Before the news of the ninth of October 
reached the superintendent of Indian affairs at Dayton in 
the Wallamet valley, owing to the general restlessness of 
the Indians assigned to reservations, as well as those still 
roving, he had issued "regulations for the guidance of 
agents" in his superintendency, "pending existing hostil 
ities," as follows: 

i? The Ashland Tidings of October 19, 1877, has a tribute by J. M. Sutton to Volun 
teer Pedigo, who, with Miller, Pearcy, Pearl, and Winters, was buried at Fort Bailey: 
"Jonathan A. Pedigo was a young man who had just passed his majority. * * * 
My only intimacy with him was during our service in the war of 1855, from the 
seventh day of October to the time of his death, less than one month. Yet during 
this short period all of his comrades had learned to love the name of Jonathan A. 
Pedigo for the great benevolent heart that beat within his bosom. Brave to a fault, 
ever ready to do his duty and more, the old men of our company, of whom we had 
several, were relieved by his ever-ready hand from much of the rigor of Indian war 
fare. He would attend to their horses, and occasionally take their places on guard 
on a cold or rainy night. Being large and robust, his greatest pleasure seemed to be 
in relieving the hardships of those possessing, in a smaller degree, the power of 


DAYTON, O. T., October 13, 1855. 

It is hereby ordered that the Indians in the Willamette valley, 
parties to the treaty of the tenth of January, 1855, shall be forth 
with collected upon the reservations heretofore or now to be assigned 
to them, to remain under the direction of such persons as may be 
appointed to act for the time being as their local agents. 

The names of all adult males, and boys over twelve years of age, 
shall be enrolled, and the roll called daily. 

When any one shall be absent at rollcall, the fact shall be noted, 
and unless a satisfactory reason be rendered, the absentee shall be 
regarded as a person dangerous to the peace of the country, and 
dealt with accordingly. 

Any Indian found outside of his designated temporary reserva 
tion, without being able satisfactorily to account therefor, shall be 
arrested and retained in custody so long as shall be deemed neces 
sary ; or should he be a stranger, not belonging to any of the bands 
of this valley, he* shall be placed for safe keeping in the county jail, 
or taken to Fort Vancouver. But should he prove a spy from the 
enemy, he will be immediately turned over to the military author 

Any Indian who has joined or may hereafter join the hostile 
bands, give them informatioH, or in any way aid or assist them in 
making war against the whites, shall be regarded as having thereby 
forfeited all rights under the treaty, and excluded from any benefits 
to be derived therefrom. He will, moreover, be regarded as an en 
emy ; and it will be the duty of all friendly Indians to deliver up 
such to the agents or civil officers, and in no case to afford them en 
couragement or protection. 

The persons designated to act as local agents will use a sound dis 
cretion in regard to the number of firearms Jndians may be per 
mitted to retain at their encampments. 

No Indian will be permitted to leave his assigned encampment 
unless by written permit from the local or special agent. 

The local agents will each be furnished with proper supplies of 
flour and beef, and will issue rations to the Indians when necessary 
of one pound each per day to each adult, and less in proportion to 
children, as they may judge them to require. 

Should any member of these bands desire to reside with and 
labor for the settlers, he may be permitted to do so, the agent ob 
taining a guarantee from the person for whom the labor is per 
formed, in each case, for the fidelity and good conduct of the Indian. 
Every effort will be made by the local agents to ascertain whether 
any Indians of the valley have left the settlements with hostile in 
tentions ; and the names of such, together with the proofs, will be 
reported to this office. 


E. R. Geary will superintend the arrangement of encampments, 
and designate persons to act as local agents for the respective bands. 

Berry man Jennings is appointed special sub-Indian agent for the 
Willamette valley, and as such will cooperate with Mr. Geary in 
carrying into effect the foregoing regulations. 

The encampments assigned the several bands, and the name of 
the local agent for each, will be reported to this office, and published 
in the papers of this valley for the benefit of all concerned. 

The same precautions will be observed in regard to the tribes and 
bands within this superiri tendency embraced in the treaties lately 
negotiated east of the Cascade mountains; and agent R. R. Thomp 
son will assign the temporary encampments to the several bands, 
and designate proper persons to act as local agents, call the rolls, 
and distribute the necessary rations. 

Agent Ambrose will make similar arrangements in regard to the 
Indians in the Rogue-river district, embraced in the treaties of the 
tenth of September, 1853, and eighteenth of November, 1854. 

The various rolls will be kept with accuracy and care, and for 
warded to the superintendent s ofhce at Dayton; it being deter 
mined to make these rolls the criterion in the payment of annuities; 
and no Indian whose name is not enrolled, and who cannot give a 
satisfactory reason for the omission, or who shall refuse to comply 
with the foregoing regulations, shall be embraced in said payment. 

This order, though it may be regarded as arbitrary, and unwar 
ranted in the ordinary state of affairs, is, in view of existing hostil 
ities, deemed necessary, as it is extremely difficult to distinguish 
among our Indian population, the well disposed and friendly from 
the vicious and hostile ; and from the fact that representations have 
been made warranting the belief that members of one or more bands 
have already left this valley and joined the hostile tribes north of 
the Columbia river. 

The measure is deemed no less a security to the white settlements 
than to the friendly bands of Indians ; nor is it designed to abridge 
in the least the rights secured by the treaties to the Indians, but if 
possible to avert hostilities with these bands. 

Citizens generally are requested to give this order a proper inter 
pretation, and to exercise a due degree of forbearance in their deal 
ings with the Indians ; but at the same time to keep a vigilant 
watch over them, and report to the acting agents the presence of 
strange Indians among us; and render such aid, in their apprehen 
sion, as may tend to protect our persons and property, arid secure 


Superintendent of Indian Affairs. 

Since preparing the foregoing regulations, information has been 
received at this office that a portion of the Indians in southern 


Oregon and northern California have exhibited hostile demonstra 
tions endangering the peace of the settlements in the valley; it is, 
therefore, ordered that the Indians embraced in the treaties of nine 
teenth of September, 1853, being the Cow-creek band of Umpquas, 
and those of the Umpqua and Calapooia tribes, treated with on the 
twenty-ninth of November, 1854, be assembled on the reservation 
designated by that treaty. 

William J. Martin is appointed special sub-Indian agent for the 
bands embraced in these two treaties, and as such will cooperate 
with agent George H. Ambrose in carrying out the foregoing regu 
lations. Sub-Indian agent E. P. Drew, and special sub-Indian 
agent Benjamin Wright, will, if they believe the peace of the settle 
ments require it, adopt the same precautions with the tribes and 
bands within their districts. 


It will be seen from this action of the superintendent 
that before he had been made aware of the great provoca 
tion given the white population of southern Oregon to 
treat as " persons dangerous to the peace of the country," 
and to be "dealt with accordingly," all Indians absent 
from their reservations, as well as strangers roving over 
the country, he had arrived at conclusions which justified 
them in holding this view. 

Governor Curry, too, on receiving information of the 
ninth of October massacres, together with a petition from 
Umpqua valley asking for five hundred volunteers to 
defend the country, issued a proclamation October fifteenth, 
calling for five companies of mounted men to constitute a 
northern battalion, and five companies of mounted men 
to constitute a southern battalion, to remain in service 
until discharged; each company to consist of sixty men, 
with the usual complement of officers, making a total of 
seventy-one, rank and file; each volunteer to furnish his 
own horse, arms, and equipments, and each company to 
elect its own officers, and thereafter to proceed at once to 
the seat of war. 

The proclamation required Jackson county to furnish 
the number of men called for to form the southern bat 
talion, who should rendezvous at Jacksonville, elect a 
major to command, and report to headquarters. 


The northern battalion was ordered to be raised two 
companies in Lane, and one each in Linn, Douglas, and 
Umpqua counties, to rendezvous at Roseburg. Adjutant- 
General E. M. Barnum left the movements of the two bat 
talions to their respective commanders, directing, however, 
that all Indians should be treated as enemies who were 
not unmistakably friends. The only "instructions" were 
to endeavor to act in concert with the regular army 

It would be hard to see in what respect the course pur 
sued by the volunteers in the field differed from the 
governor s or the adjutant-general s, or even the Indian 
superintendent s directions; yet five days later Governor 
Curry ordered disbanded the battalion already in the field 
from Jackson county, and raised under the militia law of 
the territory, because, forsooth, information had reached 
him that Indians had been slaughtered "by a rabble from 
the neighborhood of Yreka," 18 and he, by inference at 
least, classed all the men of the south in arms against the 
Indians with that rabble, by which was meant Major Lup- 
ton s party, which attacked the Indians off the reservation 
on the morning of the eighth of October, and whose action, 
if doubtful in appearance at the time, was justified by the 
events which immediately followed it, showing that the 
Indians were, as he believed, prepared for mischief. 

Notwithstanding the disbanding of Ross regiment on 
account, presumably, of their hostility to the Indians, the 
men were invited to reenlist in the southern battalion to 
fight these same Indians. The odium thus was left to rest 
upon the officers, who were largely of a political party 
opposed to that to which the governor belonged; and this 
was supposed to account for the slight put upon those who 
had hastened to the defense of their country at her mo 
ment of greatest peril. 

The first effect of the governor s proclamations was to 
suspend volunteering. On the seventh of November, the 

18 Oregon Statesman, January 27, 1857. 


ninth regiment was assembled by order of Colonel Ross at 
Fort Vannoy on the Illinois river, in order that all who 
desired to continue in service might be mustered in under 
the new organization. On the tenth, Captains Bruce, Will 
iams, Wilkinson, and Alcorn offered and were accepted 
in the order named. Bruce being elected major, his first 
lieutenant, E. A. Rice, was elected captain of company 

A, which then stood, Rice, captain; John S. Miller, first 
lieutenant; J. F. Anderson, second lieutenant. Company 

B, Williams, captain; Hugh O Neal, first lieutenant; M. 
Bushey, second lieutenant. Company C, Wilkinson, cap 
tain; C. F. Blake, first lieutenant, Edwin Hess, second 
lieutenant. Company D, Alcorn, captain; James M. Mat- 
ney, first lieutenant; John Osborne, second lieutenant. 
The mustering officer was John K. Lamerick; the adju 
tant-general of the command, 0. D. Hoxie. 

On the eleventh of November, Major Bruce issued the 
following order: 

VANNOY S FERRY, November 11, 1855. j 

Information having been received that armed parties are still in 
the field with the avowed purpose of waging a war independent of 
the executive of this territory, and in violation of law and general 
order No. 11, issued by the governor October 20, 1855, to wit: "It is 
therefore ordered that the commanding officers of the battalions 
authorized by the proclamation of the governor of the fifteenth of 
October instant, will enforce the disbanding of all armed parties not 
duly enrolled into the service of the territory by virtue of said proc 

As the peace and prosperity of our country depends upon law- 
and-order-abiding persons, it is, therefore, expected and required 
that all persons not duly enrolled into the service of the territory by 
virtue of the proclamation of the governor of the territory of Ore 
gon, will disband in accordance with general order No. 10. It is 
also expected and required that all persons belonging to the southern 
battalion who have been regularly enrolled into the service of the 
territory will assist in carrying out this order. 

Men under persons assuming authority are hereby notified that 
they are at liberty to enroll themselves under the proclamation, and, 
according to law. It is confidently expected that persistence in vio 
lation of this law will cease from and after this date, and that all 


good citizens will see the necessity of cheerfully acquiescing in and 
strictly conforming to the laws of our country. 

Commanding Southern Battalion Oregon Mounted Volunteers. 

The mustering of only four companies left a consider 
able portion of the country without defense, which being 
duty represented to the governor, he paid a visit to the 
south, accompanied by Adjutant-General Barnum, about 
the last of November; but the inspection only resulted in 
the consolidation of the northern and southern battalions 
into one regiment, to be known as the second regiment of 
Oregon mounted volunteers. 19 Here again occurred an 
amount of friction dangerous to the efficiency of the ser 
vice through the election of regimental officers. The 
command was given to Captain Williams, and the lieuten 
ant-colonelcy to William J. Martin, major of the northern 
battalion, who, in the estimation of many, was entitled to 
be colonel. In all these matters the volunteers took a 
lively interest. 

The northern battalion, now a part of the second regi 
ment of Oregon mounted volunteers, was officered by 
companies as follows : Company A of Lane county, Joseph 
Bailey, captain; Daniel W. Keith, first lieutenant; Cyre- 
nus Mulkey, second lieutenant. Company B, Lane county, 
Laban Buoy, captain; A. W. Patterson, first lieutenant; P. 
C.Noland, second lieutenant. Company C of Linn county, 
Jonathan Keeney, captain; A. W. Stannard, first lieuten 
ant; Joseph Yates, second lieutenant. Company D of 
Douglas county, Samuel Gordon, captain; S. B. Hadley, 
first lieutenant; T. Prather, second lieutenant. Company 
E of Umpqua county, W. W. Chapman, captain; Z. Dim- 
mick, first lieutenant ; J. M. Merrick, second lieutenant. 20 

19 This consolidation took place on the petition of William J. Martin, major north 
ern battalion ; Edgar B. Stone, surgeon ; J. W. Dre\v. Aaron Rose, J. W. Smith, L. L. 
Bradbury, S. F. Chadwick, P. F. Castleman, assistant quartermaster, and 8. B. Had 
ley, first lieutenant company D, "and many others." 

20 On the thirtieth of December Lieutenant Mulkey resigned, and Charles W. Me- 
Clure was elected in his place. Lieutenant A. W. Patterson was transferred to the 
medical department, and L. Poindexter elected in his place : Oregon journals, house, 
1856-6, ap. 145. 


The lettering was changed by the change of organization. 

To go back a little: Immediately after the battle at 
Hungry hill on Grave creek, Major Fitzgerald proceeded 
to Fort Vancouver, and thence to The Dalles, where he 
remained in garrison during the winter. The command 
at Fort Lane was thus reduced to a single troop. Captain 
Smith had agreed with the volunteer officers to meet them 
at the Grave-creek house (Fort Bailey) about the ninth of 
November, prepared to pursue and fight the Indians, and 
in the meantime scouts from Bailey s company were to 
find where they were in hiding ; for, as usual, after a bat 
tle, they had abandoned their position silently and mys 
teriously, to reappear in some unexpected quarter. But 
before disappearing they had paid a visit to the reserva 
tion and burned or destroyed all the property of the peo 
ple upon it, including that of Chief Sam, and killed the 
agency cattle. Soon after a number of houses on Jump- 
Off- Joe creek were burned, hearing of which Martin s and 
Bruce s commands, together with a small force of regulars 
from Fort Jones, pursued and fell in with a band at the 
mouth of Jump-Off-Joe creek, killing eight. 

On the nineteenth, Major Bruce, with a part of his bat 
talion, marched up Applegate creek in company with Cap 
tain Judah and his troop from Fort Jones, but finding no 
Indians, returned to headquarters on the twentieth. On 
the twenty-first, Major Bruce ordered Captains Williams 
and Alcorn, with their companies, to proceed down the 
west side of Rogue river, while he, with Captains Rice 
and Wilkinson and their commands, marched down the 
opposite side by the way of Grave creek to The Meadows, 
accompanied by Captain Judah and Major Martin. The 
several commands arrived in the vicinity of the supposed 
headquarters of the enemy at daylight on the twenty-fifth, 
and sent out their spies to discover the Indian camp. Late 
at night the spies reported the Indians, two or three hun 
dred strong, on a bar of the river six miles above and very 
difficult of access. 


On the morning on the twenty-sixth, Captain Judah, 
with forty-six regulars, and Major Martin, with one hun 
dred volunteers, marched to a position opposite the Indian 
camp, where, according to the plan of attack, they were to 
be joined by Major Bruce and Captains Williams and 
Alcorn, with two hundred and eighty -six volunteers. 
These were to cross the river on a raft, surround the en 
emy s camp, and give a signal, when Judah was to open 
fire from his howitzer. 

The "best laid schemes," it is, according to the poet, 
which "gang aft aglee;" and so it was with this one con 
certed with so much care by a "regular" officer. Wild 
men, like birds, must be taken on the wing. They will 
not wait to have salt put upon their tails. Major Bruce 
was in the act of placing his raft in the water at a little 
past noon, when the Indians opened fire on him from the 
cover of the underbrush and timber on the east side. His 
command was driven to seek shelter and defend itself until 
dark, when it withdrew, and the whole force went into 

It was then determined to send for supplies and reen- 
forcements, and to force the Indians out of their strong 
hold. On the first of December an express arrived from 
Captain Smith, informing Judah that he had reached a 
point twelve miles below Grave-creek house, but could 
come no further on account of rain and snow upon the 
mountains, and that in a few days more the mountains 
would be impassable. A council being held, it was de 
cided to return to headquarters to await a change in the 

On the forth of December all arrived at the Grave-creek 
house, where they learned of the governor s proclamation 
uniting the two battalions into a regiment, and ordering 
the election of officers as above mentioned. From here 
Major Bruce proceeded to Fort Vannoy (headquarters), 
where the election of colonel and lieutenant-colonel was 
held on the sixth, resulting in the choice of Captain 


Williams for the first position, and Major Martin for the 
second. On the seventh the several companies were ordered 
to different parts of the valley, where grass for their horses 
could be obtained (it being impossible to procure hay ), as 
well as to afford protection to those localities. 

But the companies were not permitted to remain in 
quarters. During the absence of the volunteers early in 
December, some roving bands of Indians were devastating 
the settlements on the west side of the south Umpqua, 
destroying fifteen houses, whose inmates had been com 
pelled to take refuge in forts. 

On the twenty-fourth, Captain Alcorn discovered and 
attacked a camp on the north branch of Little Butte 
creek, killing eight warriors and capturing some horses. 
At about the same date Captain Rice found another camp 
on the north bank of Rogue river, and attacked with 
thirty men, fighting six hours, killing the adult males, 
and taking captive the women and children, who were 
sent to Fort Lane to be guarded. 

" These two fights," wrote a correspondent of the Oregon 
Statesman, "have blotted out Jake s band." That they 
had done so was a cause of congratulation to the white 
settlers, who could nevermore hope for security of life or 
property while they were alive and free. But General 
Wool in his official report stigmatized their proceedings as 
murder, and drew a pathetic picture of the women and 
children of the slaughtered Indians making their way to 
Fort Lane "for protection," with their limbs frozen. That 
some had frozen limbs was probably true, for the winter 
was an unusually cold one, a circumstance as injurious to 
the volunteers, many of whom were ill-clad, as to the 
Indians. But war is a trade, whose masters cannot show 
mercy, even to themselves, peace being obtained only 
through relentless strife. 

About the last of December, 1855, Major Bruce, being 
informed by express from Stirling, that a party of Indians 


had fortified themselves in three deserted log cabins on 
Applegate creek, ordered Captains Rice and Alcorn to 
prepare for a campaign in the mountains, and himself 
proceeded to Fort Lane to ask the assistance of Captain 
Smith with his howitzer. Obtaining the promise of this, 
he made a forced march up to the forks of Applegate 
creek with Rice s company of forty men on the first of 
January, and on the second twenty miles further up the 
creek, where he found an independent company of fifty 
citizens from Stirling surrounding the cabins. 

Nothing could be done before the arrival of the howitzer 
on the afternoon of the fourth, the intervening time being 
spent in snow from six to twelve inches deep, with severe 
weather, the volunteers exchanging occasional shots with 
the Indians. In the three days of waiting and suffering, 
three Indians were killed and several wounded, while 
Captain Rice lost one man killed, and the citizen company 
three wounded. 

On the arrival of Lieutenant Underwood from Fort 
Lane, with forty regulars and the howitzer, a shell was 
dropped into one of the cabins, wounding one Indian and 
two children, when several were seen to retreat to another 
cabin a few yards distant. A few more shells were thrown 
without effect, when night coming on, the three several 
companies were posted in a manner which was intended 
to prevent an escape; the regulars being between the 
Indians and the hills, and the volunteers and citizens on 
two other sides, the lines almost meeting. 

With all this precaution, about eleven o clock the In 
dians crept up to the line of soldiers, firing and yelling. 
In the first surprise a number broke through the line and 
escaped to the hills; but the regulars recovering them 
selves turned a. portion of them back towards the creek, 
across which they succeeded in escaping, the sentinels 
being unable to get at them by reason 1 of the thickets 
along the stream, their trail being found by daylight to be 
stained with blood. 


It was only the fighting men of the beseiged, however, 
who had taken wing when the sentinels of the regular 
force, not liking the cold, and perhaps not liking to fight 
an unseen enemy, returned to camp; and before their 
commander could order them back to their posts, the 
Indian women with their children, and a pack animal, 
also passed the line, and gained the hills. 

On examining the cabins it was found that the Indians 
had burned their dead, but had left a wounded boy to the 
mercy of his captors. From him it was learned that the 
party occupying the cabins belonged to chief Jo; and 
the skill with which he had fortified his camp would have 
defied the volunteer arms; it was only the howitzer which 
could dislodge him. A subterranean passage had been 
excavated leading from the cabins to the open country 
and pits dug in each corner of the cabins deep enough 
to stand in, with loop-holes under the bottom logs through 
which they could shoot without being exposed; all of 
which was surprising in savage military science, but was 
probably learned from communication with white men. 

Bruce wished to follow the trail of the Indians, but 
Lieutenant Underwood declared his men unfit for travel 
ing in the mountains; and the citizen company were 
unprepared. They, therefore, returned to Stirling, and 
Underwood to Fort Lane; while Bruce retired to Camp 
Spencer, on the lower Applegate creek, to recruit the 
horses, and give his company a much needed rest after 
three days and nights of watching in snow and cold, re 
maining there until the eighteenth. On that date, he was 
joined by Captains O Neil and Alcorn, with a part of their 
commands, making his available force seventy-three men, 
rank and file. Alcorn, with thirty-eight men, took the 
trail of the Indians up Applegate creek, while Bruce, with 
O Niel and the remainder, marched up Williams creek. 
Scouting continued for five days, when Bruce fell in with 
two Indian spies, running them to camp, a distance of 
twelve miles. Sending an express to hasten forward 


O Neil, the major dismounted his men, twenty-one in all, 
and stationing Alcorn with eleven men on the left of the 
canon in which the enemy was encamped, himself occu 
pied the right with only nine. 

It was soon discovered that the Indians were sixty or 
seventy strong. Firing became general, and both sides sus 
tained losses. Wiley Cash was killed in this preliminary 
engagement, and Daniel Richardson severely wounded. 
Soon after these casualties, eight men were cut off from 
the little force, when Bruce collected the ten left him and 
charged the Indians, driving them out of the canon, re 
lieving the men and securing a favorable position for him 
self, though surrounded and cut off from his horses. Night 
coming on, he was compelled to retreat towards these, but 
found that half of them had been driven off before the 
arrival of Captain O Niel, who was on the ground with 
the news that he had sent Lieutenant Armstrong an hour 
before dark with twenty-two men to engage the enemy on 
the right, while with twenty men he had flanked their left 
and fought them until dark. 

The night being very dark and cold, the whole force 
present withdrew to camp five miles distant, when it was 
discovered that Lieutenant Armstrong had not returned. 
Instead, he remained on the ground and renewed the 
attack at daylight next morning, the Indians giving way 
and retreating soon after daybreak. It was found that 
they had burned their dead in the night, making it 
impossible to determine their loss. 

" On this day, January twenty-fourth," says Bruce in his 
report, "the colonel, R. L. Williams, arrived in camp and 
took the command." In the same report he declares that 
great credit is due "the captains and lieutenants" for their 
coolness and determined bravery in their several engage 
ments. He might well have included all the men in his 
command. The kind of duty they were required to per 
form was a drudging and thankless service, which only 
the desperate situation of the country could have induced 


them to engage in. Wrote Captain Rice after three 
months in the field: "With the exception of two weeks 
on Rogue river, the company has not camped four days at 
one place." 

During all the time since the battle of Hungry hill, the 
companies which constituted the northern battalion under 
W. J. Martin, major, and later lieutenant-colonel, were oc 
cupied in scouting and guarding settlements, or escorting 
trains and travelers. The stations in this part of the field 
were Camas valley, twenty miles southwest of Roseburg, 
tit the head of the Coquille, where Captain Bailey had his 
winter quarters, with orders to furnish unprotected fami 
lies in his vicinity with a sufficient force to render them 
safe; Fort Smith, at the house of William Henry Smith, 
on Cow creek, where twenty-five men were stationed to 
escort trains between Umpqua canon and Fort Leland on 
Grave creek; Camp Eliff, at the south end of the canon, 
the station of Captain Buoy, who was instructed to protect 
families and keep open the road between this point and 
the crossing of Cow creek; Fort Bailey, five miles south 
of the crossing of Cow creek, where Captain Keeney was 
stationed to protect the road from there to Grave creek; 
and Camp Gordon, where Captain Gordon commanded, 
eight miles above the mouth of Cow creek. Captain W. 
W. Chapman was ordered to divide his force, about fifty 
men being at the mouth of the Umpqua, to keep a look 
out on the reservation at that point, and also on the Coos 
bay settlement, while thirty men were encamped on Ten- 
Mile prairie, near the house of L. D. Kent. 

To his captains, Major Martin issued the order to "take 
no prisoners;" yet about Christmas time he had quite a 
number of prisoners, chiefly women and children on his 
hands, whom he directed Captain Buoy to escort to the 
Grand Rond reservation in Yamhill county. Agent Met- 
calf, however, refused to let them go, for the reason that 
they were nearly related to the Indians on the Umpqua 


reservation, and if removed before the main body of the 
Indians, would make trouble, and defeat the plans of the 
Indian department, which had trouble enough already to 
reconcile the people of Polk county to the contemplated 
reservation of their western border for Indian uses. 

The following monthly report of Captain Chapman, 
brief as it is, gives a more definite idea of the service than 
pages of less succinct narrative : 

December first, arrived at Little Meadows just at night ; second, 
was ordered out next morning at daylight ; camped that night on 
hill west of Whisky creek ; third, by four o clock P. M. reached 
Grave creek ; lay there until the sixth ; seventh, marched through 
the canon and reached Roseburg, thirty miles ; ninth, reached 
Winchester ; tenth, High water ; eleventh, arrived at headquarters at 
Oalipooya ; on the twenty-first, by order, moved to u Kellogg s " for 
headquarters ; stationed forty-five men at Providence, at mouth of 
Umpqua; selected thirty men for Kent s station in Ten-Mile prairie, 
and ordered remainder to headquarters ; while selecting station 
below, bad weather, snow, etc., set in, and stopped further progress. 
It now became necessary to feed the grain I had laid in, in Novem 
ber instead of grass, as ordered. 

Such were the reports mere records of weary marches 
over nearly impassable roads, in rain and snow, to ward off 
possible attacks on isolated settlements, or pursue a small 
band of Indians intent on robbing if not on murder; for 
by robbery they must now live. 

There was neither pay nor glory in that kind of warfare, 
nothing but self-sacrifice, not even the excitement of good 
fighting, for the Indians kept in seclusion excepting when 
their spies reported an opportunity to capture a pack train, 
or destroy property leit unguarded. This being the situa 
tion, a majority of the regiment under Colonel Williams 
applied for their discharge early in January, upon the 
ground that their term of enlistment had expired, they 
having been mustered into the service in October under 
Colonel Ross, and transferred the following month to the 
second regiment Oregon mounted volunteers. Their horses 
being worn out, Colonel Williams suggested to Adjutant- 



General Barnum that they be allowed their discharges, and 
new recruits called for, who would be furnished with fresh 
horses. An order was accordingly issued to that effect, 
the enlistments being for three months, and most of the 
old companies of the southern battalion again taking the 

During the several weeks before the recruited regiment 
was ready for service, the southern companies performed 
the duty of escorting trains and guarding "stations," as 
fortified houses in which families had taken refuge were 
called ; and this they did because they must, for to neglect 
it was to consent to their destruction. For the Indian 
leaders were still inflexible, and would listen to no over 
tures. Indeed, when sometimes coming near enough in 
battle to be addressed, the white commanders attempted 
to reason with them, they instantly challenged them to 
further combat, and refused to confer with them on the 
subject of peace. 





AT THE breaking out of war in the interior, Ben Wright, 
in charge of the several bands below Coos bay, hastened 
to make them acquainted with the order issued by Super 
intendent Palmer, with whom they had made treaties, that 
in order to prevent suspicions concerning their intentions, 
and consequent collisions with white men, they must 
remain upon their reservations and avoid every appear 
ance of collusion with the Rogue-river bands. To those 
roving Indians from the interior whom he found on the 
coast he gave admonition, and ordered them back to their 
own reserve; otherwise to submit to arrest. They com 
plied, although insolently, and the tribes in his sub-agency 
promised obedience and friendship. But on arriving at 
the mouth of the Coquille he found the settlers alarmed 
by appearances among these Indians. On conferring with 
them, however, they professed friendship, and ascribed 
their restlessness to the discovery of a camp of Rogue-river 
women and children in their vicinity, and to knowing that 



this circumstance might be construed against them. They 
also exhibited fear lest the volunteers operating in the 
Umpqua valley should come down upon them, to extermi 
nate them, as they had been informed was their intention. 
Wright succeeded in quieting, as he believed, their appre 
hensions, and returned to Port Orford, appointing a local 
agent, David Hall, to look after them. 

Hall was a member of a company on its way to the 
Coquille camp with the design of disarming or killing the 
Indians, who had been guilty of the death, in 1854, of two 
citizens, Venable and Burton, for which crime they had 
gone unpunished, and who now, according to their belief, 
were preparing for further mischief. But "Wright suc 
ceeded in allaying this feeling, or at least in persuading 
them to trust their safety to the Indian department and 
the United States troops at Port Orford yet a little longer; 
and by making one of them local agent, left the manage 
ment of affairs largely to his discretion. The settlers not 
being convinced of the good intentions of the Indians, 
soon after removed their families to Empire City, where a 
fortification had been erected. The miners at Randolph 
also concealed their portable property, and removed to 
Port Orford for safety; and at the mouth of Rogue river a 
fortified house was prepared for a refuge in time of trouble. 

These events occurred immediately after the outbreak in 
Rogue-river valley. On the fifth of November Wright wrote 
Major Reynolds at Port Orford, "I deem it expedient and 
necessary to request you to allow the present force stationed 
at Port Orford to remain as a means of enabling me to 
carry out rny plans for the preservation of peace among 
the Indians of my district, and for the security of white 
citizens;" which request was granted. 

Early in November, the Coos county people, being still 
apprehensive, raised a company of nineteen rnen. who 
applied to the local Indian agent, Hall, for authority to 
defend the people of his district the governor having 
discountenanced independent companies. On his author- 


ity, and by agreement between the agent and themselves, 
they carried out their design, as shown in the following 
compact : 

FORT KITCHEN, Coos County, O. T., November 6, 1855. 
Articles of agreement made and entered into between David 
Hall, local Indian agent for the Coquille district, on the part of the 
United States, and the undersigned persons, to wit : Wo, the under 
signed, do hereby agree to serve and obey all orders given us by 
David Hall, local Indian agent for the Coquille Indians, for the pur 
pose of promoting and maintaining peace between the Indians in 
his charge and the settlers, or citizens of the United States in this 
valley; also, to prevent other Indians now at war with the United 
States from joining and forcing the Indians in this district into a 
war with the United States; and to serve until such times as peace 
may be declared, unless relieved or discharged, and to receive for 
such service such pay and emoluments as the United States may 
think fit to give us. ( Then follow nineteen names, and the affidavit 
of the agent.) 

I certify, on honor, that believing the public tranquility required 
the measures I have adopted, I have contracted with and engaged 
the above-named men to assist me in promoting and maintaining 
the peace as above specified. 


Local Indian Agent, Coquille District, Coos County, O. T. 
Witnesses: H. W. SANFOBD, 


Coos County, Coquille Precinct, O. T. 

The same day on which the agreement was signed a 
site was selected on the Coquille river for the erection of 
a fortification, which was named Fort Kitchen, and which 
in a few days was so nearly picketed that it could be de 
fended by half a dozen men. Captain Packwood then, 
with less than a third of the little force, made a scout up 
the south fork of the river on the twelfth of November to 
look after the property of several settlers who were absent 
from their places. They found that a house had been 
robbed of a large amount of flour, and thereupon Hall 
sent an express to Port Orford to notify sub-Indian agent 
Ben Wright of the absence of the Indians from the reser 
vation, of the robbery, and other matters connected there 
with, and asking him to come to Coquille to settle with 


the Indians, and relieve the men he ( Hall ) had contracted 
with to aid him in keeping the peace; the settlers above 
having in the meantime returned and forted themselves at 
the place of a Mr. Roland, after leaving their families at 
Coos bay for safety. 

Captain Pack wood, while waiting for Wright s appear 
ance, remained at Fort Roland to watch the Indians, and 
became convinced, although they pretended to be friendly, 
they they were, if not in league with, at least very much 
excited by the visits to them of the hostile Indians from 
the Rogue-river camp. Pending Wright s arrival, Pack- 
wood ordered the Indians off the reservation to be arrested, 
two of them, Elk and Long John, to be treated as crimi 
nals if attempting to escape, and shot. The whole band 
were notified of the order, and that those who peaceably 
obeyed would be treated as friends. John, however, man 
aged to escape, and when the express returned from Port 
Orford it brought only the news that Wright was absent 
down the coast, and that a company of volunteers was 
gone up to the big bend of Rogue river, about twenty-five 
miles from Fort Roland, to watch the Indians. This 
dearth of news left the local agent without instructions, 
and Packwood released the prisoners he had taken, advis 
ing all the band to go on the reserve and remain quiet. 

On the twenty-second of November sixteen men from 
Coos bay joined the Coquille guards at Fort Kitchen. 
On the same day the local agent, Hall, was relieved by 
William Chance, who accepted the services of the guards 
and the sixteen recruits on the same conditions as those 
agreed to by his predecessor, certifying on his honor that 
he believed the public tranquility required the measures 
adopted. The instructions issued to Packwood after the 
flight of Long John directed him to treat all Indians, in 
future, without a pass, as enemies, those belonging to chief 
Washington s band having commenced hostilities by burn 
ing the house of a Mr. Hoffman, robbing the house of J. 
J. Hill of four hundred dollars worth of provisions, rob- 


bing the house of Mr. Woodward, cutting adrift the ferry 
boat at the crossing of the Coquille, with other similar 
acts of enmity. 

On the twenty-third Chance took a party of the guards 
and went to the forks of the Coquille to try to persuade 
Washington to go upon the reservation, but found the 
chief had erected a barricade on the point between the 
two branches of the river, where he could only be ap 
proached by water at a great disadvantage. As the party 
came in view he stationed himself, gun in hand, behind 
a myrtle tree, and twice raised it to fire, but seeing several 
rifles pointed in his direction refrained. 

Chance hastened to send a friendly Indian to invite 
Washington to a conference, which, after some parleying, 
he consented to. Rumors were then sent to inform the 
Indians up the river that they must go upon the reserva 
tion if they would not be treated as suspects; after which 
the agent returned to Fort Kitchen, while the guards with 
him continued on to Fort Roland under their captain, 
Pack wood. 

On the following day, having received such orders, this 
detachment, after allowing time for the Indians to move 
as directed, marched down the north and east side of the 
south fork, and meeting two Indians, one of whom was 
armed with a gun, and who either through fear or hos 
tility made as if he would have used it, shot them, killing 
one and wounding the other, who escaped. Near the forks 
of the river another Indian was wounded, after which the 
company returned to Fort Kitchen. 

Concerning these acts of the guards, Packwood explains, 
in a report to Governor Curry, in which he relates with 
great candor all that occurred, that the Indians had been 
warned by sub-agent Wright in October to keep upon the 
reservation ; also by David Wall, local agent, and by his 
successor, William Chance; and that "it would have been 
madness and folly to use gentle means any further," but 
that force was necessarily resorted to. The order to the 


-Indians to remain on the reservation was given in their 
Mown interest, as when the hostile Indians from the interior 
made incursions into their country and committed depre 
dations, they were likely to be suspected and treated as 
enemies, all of which they perfectly understood, and in 
Respite of which they continued to roam about the settle 

-(. No news being received from Wright, and the local agent 
^being reluctant to undertake disarming the Indians, the 
IGoos bay men becoming alarmed for their families returned 
Ihome December eleventh, leaving the guards as first or 
ganized. The weather being now very cold in the moun- 
teiins, which were covered with snow so that emissaries 
<ffom the Rogue-river Indians were believed to be barred 
fjQut, the white people in Coos county recovered somewhat 
-from their apprehensions, and the guards being stationed in 
ithree several detachments among the settlements, allowed 
ithemselves to hope for peace. 

,niOn ma-king a visit to the beach where their provisions 
were stored, two of the guards from Fort Roland found 
aLong John in the cabin cooking, and other Indians on the 
outside peering through the cracks. They demanded an ex 
planation, which John endeavored to avert first by lying, 
^cnd then by giving the war-whoop apparently to summon 
-ethers to his aid, when he was shot. The men fearing an 
$fktack, hastened back to camp, and again quiet reigned in 
etbe Coquille region. 

oilJOn the twenty-fourth of December, Wright arrived at 
Fort Kitchen, spending three days with the Indians, who 
,Jadid the blame of all the disturbances which had hap- 
ifJsned upon the white people. They promised to remain 
iqaaiet and obey orders. Wright accepted the Indian prot- 
fMtations of innocence, and informed the guards that their 
atkiganization must be approved by the governor in order 
itoosecure any compensation for their services to his depart- 
imnt, whereupon Captain Packwood discharged his com- 
dpfatny, and made a report in due f6rm of his operations 


and expenses, which was forwarded to the executive, who 
was asked to recognize them as volunteers under his proc 
lamation of November fifteenth. It was, however, only 
at a later period, when Pack wood reorganized his company 
under a proclamation of the executive as the "Coquille 
Minute Men," that they came to be recognized as belong 
ing to the volunteer service, their muster roll dating back 
to November sixth. 

This rather lengthy account of the volunteer service in 
this region is introduced in this place because certain 
statements were made derogatory to the people of this 
isolated portion of Oregon, and to such an extent as to 
influence public opinion to their injury. In a subsequent 
communication to Governor Curry, speaking on this sub 
ject, Packwood says: 

We had just cause; and should it be urged that there was the 
military at Port Orford, and consequently no necessity for organiz 
ing a company, I would only refer to the fact that they remained 
there after knowing our situation, and would, I believe, have re 
mained there all the same had all the Indians of southern Oregon 
been concentrating on us. And the military have never been used 
in this portion of Oregon for the purpose of averting Indian hostili 
ties, but only come on the field in treaty-making time, after the 
exasperated citizens have assembled, conquered, and brought the 
Indians to terms. There is another thing some persons take upon 
themselves to do, and that is to decide that a community of people 
are in no danger from Indian hostilities. The above decision has, I 
believe, been made in our case. * * * There seems to be an 
opinion afloat that several white men must lose their lives before 
Indians are "hostile." I hold to a very different one, and consider 
the following as hostile acts, especially when a chief and his baud 
turns out to defend the perpetrators, to wit : breaking open and rob 
bing houses; stealing ammunition, etc.; stealing blankets and other 
articles; robbing cornfields; poisoning dogs (invaluable here); ob 
stinately remaining off the reservation for the. purpose of harboring 
Indians from the Umpqua, Cow creek, and Rogue river, and to 
concoct a plan to exterminate the whites on this river. [Then 
follows a narrative of his own escape from being killed when the 
Ooquilles were exulting over the tidings of the massacres of white 
families in Rogue-river valley.] * I found that nothing but 

a mild, firm, and energetic course with the Indians here would 


avert a war with them, as they knew all the particulars of the 
Indian war in the interior; believed also from what had been told 
them "by some white man" that the time had come when they 
must either exterminate the whites, or the whites would extermi 
nate them. Such was the impression on the minds of the Indians 
here at that time. Their number of fighting men is forty-six to 
fifty, and should a party of Rogue-river Indians have effected a 
junction with them at the time, they could easily have overwhelmed 
us with numbers. Our number at that time being eleven men near 
the forks, and four men in the mountains. Our arms for defense 
were nine long rifles, two government rifles, two shotguns, two 
single-barreled pistols, and two revolving pistols. The Indians were 
in proportion to their numbers nearly as well off as we were, both 
in arms and ammunition, as the Klickitat tribe have been supply 
ing them with both for the last two years. 

This communication of a settler of a good degree of 
intelligence and acquainted with Indian characteristics, 
goes far to account for the feeling, quite universal at this 
period, that the regular military authorities were indiffer 
ent to the alarm felt by exposed settlements, and that they, 
would not move to prevent hostilities, but only to " chas 
tise." and then "protect" the Indians "after a few white 
men had lost their lives." 

About the time referred to in Packwood s report, Indian 
Agent E. P. Drew, in charge of the Umpqua and Coos bay 
Indians, became convinced that the latter were holding 
communication with the hostiles, and made haste to collect 
them on the reservation at the mouth of the Umpqua river, 
where he placed over them a local agent. Shortly after he 
found the settlers from Coos and Coquille valleys congre 
gated at Empire City, and a company formed (those who 
had resigned from the guards probably), to punish the 
savages for fresh depredations. An attack was made on 
them at Drolley s, on the lower branch of the Coquille, 
four being killed, and four captured and hanged. This 
chastisement seemed to have convinced these Indians of 
the folly of attempting to follow the example of the Rogue- 
rivers, for they remained quiet during the winter, being 
closely watched and guarded. 


In the month of November, a company was raised 
among the miners at Gold Beach and the southern coast 
generally, with John Poland for captain. It did not be 
long to the second regiment as organized under the procla 
mation of the governor; but since the proclamation made 
no provision for the defense of the coast counties, and since 
the military force at Fort Orford was entirely inadequate, 
even with the desire to be useful, which was said to be 
lacking, to the task of guarding the lives and property of 
the people, this company performed guard duty during 
the period between the proclamation of the fifteenth of 
November and that of January eighteenth, which dis 
charged the northern and southern battalions, and called 
for recruits. 

The encampment of this company had been at the big 
bend of Rogue river, between the interior and coast tribes, 
during the winter, but in February it was moved down to 
within a few miles of the coast settlements in order to re 
cruit the company to the standard of sixty privates and 
eleven officers, as ordered by the. governor, to fill up the 
regiment by recruiting. 

So quiet had been the coast tribes for some time that 
suspicion of their intentions was almost forgotten; and on 
the night of the twenty-second of February, an anniver 
sary ball was given at Gold Beach, or Whaleshead, near 
the mouth of the river, which was attended by Captain 
Poland and the majority of his men, a few being left to 
guard camp. Early on the morning of the t went} 7 -third, 
before the dancers had returned to camp, the guard was 
attacked with such suddenness and fury by a large num 
ber of Indians that but two out of ten were able to escape. 
One of these, Charles Foster, being concealed in the woods 
near the scene of the massacre, was witness of much of 
the terrible slaughter and mutilation, and able to identify 
those concerned in it, who were seen to be such as lived 
about the settlements, and were professedly friendly. 

Ben Wright was then at the house of J. McGuire, about 


four miles from the coast, and between the volunteer camp 
and Whaleshead. Early in the day, and while Captain 
Poland was with him, Wright received a visit from some 
Indians of the Mackanotins tribe, who had a village on 
the south side of the river opposite McGuire s, who came 
ostensibly to inform him that Enos, 1 a notorious half-breed, 
who had been with the hostile Rogue-rivers all winter, 
was in their camp, and they wished to have him arrested. 2 

Without a suspicion of treachery, Wright and Poland 
repaired to the Indian village, where they were immedi 
ately seized and killed, with the most revolting blood- 
thirstiness, being mutilated beyond recognition. Wright s 
heart, as subsequently learned from the Indians them 
selves, was cut out, cooked and eaten, in admiration of his 
courage, which they hoped by this act of cannibalism to 
make themselves able to emulate. 

Every house on the river below big bend, sixty in all, 
was burned that day, and twenty-six persons killed. The 
persons who suffered were Ben Wright, Captain Poland, 
Lieutenant B. Castle, P..McClusky, G. C. Holcomb, Henry 
Lawrence, Joseph Wagoner, Joseph Wilkinson, Patrick 
McCullough, E. W. Howe, J. H. Braun, Martin Reed, 
George Reed, Lorenzo Warner, Samuel Hendrick, Nelson 
Seaman. W. R. Tulles, John Idles, Joseph Leroc and two 
sons, John Geisell and four children, while Mrs. Geisell and 
two daughters were taken into captivity. Subsequently 
to the first attack, Henry Bullen, L. W. Oliver, Daniel 
Richardson, John Trickey, and Adolf Sinoldt were killed, 
making thirty-one victims of this massacre. Seven differ 
ent points on the south side of the river were attacked 
within twelve hours, showing how well concerted was the 

When the alarm was given at Gold Beach, some of the 
officers of Captain Poland s company were still there, and 

1 Indian Affairs Report, 1856, pp. 201-2; Oregon Statesman, March 11, 185C; Crescent 
City Herald, extra, February 25, 1856. 

2 Enos was hanged at Port Orford in 1857 for his part in the murder of Wright and 
Poland. He was guide to Fremont in 1843. 


Relf Bledsoe, first lieutenant, was at once chosen to com 
mand. He concentrated the men, women, and children to 
the number of one hundred and thirty at the unfinished 
fortification known as " Miners Fort," which they hastened 
to complete and to stock with the provisions at hand, and 
otherwise to prepare to stand a seige for seige it was likely 
to be, with no force in that part of the country, either 
regular or volunteer, sufficiently strong to deliver them. 

Charles Foster by using great caution reached Port Or 
ford, carrying the news of the outbreak. But Major Rey 
nolds, in command of the post, dared not divide his handful 
of men, nor would the citizens of Port Orford, only about 
fifty in number at this time, consent to the withdrawal of 
this force. They, however, dispatched a whaleboat down 
the coast to open communication with the fort, which act 
of kindness only brought with it further disaster, for the 
boat was overturned in the surf, and the six citizens in it 
drowned, their bodies being cut to pieces by the savages 
who were watching their efforts to land, and who would 
have butchered them had they lived to reach the shore. 
The men who so generously sacrificed themselves for the 
consolation of their fellows in misfortune, were H. C. 
Gerow, a merchant of Port Orford, and formerly of New 
York state; John O Brien, a miner; Sylvester Long, a 
farmer; William Thompson and Richard Gay, boatmen, 
and Felix McCue. 

The boat not returning, Captain William Tichenor, the 
founder of Port Orford, sent his schooner Nelly to bring 
off the people of Whaleshead, but was prevented by 
adverse winds from approaching the shore. Again, the 
schooner Gold Beach, at a later date, left Crescent City 
with a volunteer company, designing to attack the In 
dians; but they, too, were prevented from landing, and 
the inmates of the fort could only, with sinking hearts, 
witness these repeated failures. 

Arms were scarce at the fort, the Indians having cap 
tured those of the volunteers, but they kept a careful 


guard, and after a single attack on the twenty-fifth, the 
Indians seldom approached within rifle shot, although the 
rolling sand hills in the vicinity favored by sheltering 
them from observation. Under cover of darkness, milk 
for the children was sometimes obtained from the cows 
feeding near the fort. Once an attempt was made to 
gather potatoes from a field in daylight, but soon the men 
employed discovered the wary foe creeping upon them 
under the shelter of the sand dunes, and were forced to 
retreat in haste to the fort, one man being killed and four 
wounded before they reached cover. Whenever after this 
an Indian s head was discovered peering over the edge of 
a ridge it was shot at, and the marksmen took true aim. 

Ten, twenty, thirty days passed, during which the silence 
of death brooded over the country. Port Orford was the 
only place in Oregon to which the news of the massacre 
had been carried, and to send it to the governor at the 
capital, or to San Francisco to the military authorities, 
took time, when steamers made only monthly or bi-monthly 
trips along the coast. The Indians, always well informed 
of the movements of the volunteers, had seized upon that 
period when the disbandment of companies, and the slow 
recruiting of them rendered the state soldiery practically 
useless, so that even after the news of the tragedy had 
filtered through the Indians lines and reached the volun 
teer camps, it found them unprepared to act. 

Thus time wore on while the Indians waited for famine 
and despair to place a hundred victims in their bloody 

On the thirty-first day, ah ! what sound breaks the pain 
ful silence of this tragic solitude? Fife and drum, and 
the tramp of many feet! To the straining eyes of the im 
prisoned inmates of the fort was revealed the ravishing 
sight of two companies of the United States troops march 
ing up from Fort Humboldt to their relief. Instantly the 
Indians fled to the hills, and the people rushed out into 
the free air with shouts of gladness. 


In the meantime, Governor Curry, being taught by the 
Gold Beach disaster that a few hundred men could not 
protect so large an extent of territory as southern Oregon 
from a roving enemy, early in March authorized the 
organization in exposed localities of companies of minute 
men, and recognized those already formed as belonging to 
this branch of the service. 

Under this order George II. Abbott was engaged in the 
recruiting service at Fort Johnson in Chetcoe valley early 
in March, with the intention of going to the relief of the 
Bledsoe command at Gold Beach, when he learned that 
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan of the regular army 
had arrived at Crescent City by sea, and was marching up 
the coast to take charge of the Indian war in southern 

Abbott s company being only thirty-four strong, he 
thought it prudent to hold back a little, and even re 
mained three days in camp six miles north of Chetcoe 
river to allow Buchanan s force to come up within support- t 
ing distance. On the sixteenth of March the regulars 
were only five miles in the rear, and the volunteers started 
forward towards Pistol river, sixteen miles distant, which 
was reached about two o clock on the morning of the seven 
teenth, when preparations were made to attack an Indian 
village at break of day. The village was found to be 
abandoned, and was burned. Seeing two or three Indians 
on the hills half a mile distant herding horses, Abbott 
made a sortie with thirteen men to gain their attention 
and capture their horses. But on coming near it was dis 
covered that instead of two or three, at least fifty Indians 
were in the immediate vicinity and more arriving with 
every moment. A hasty retreat to the beach was effected, 
the Indians following, and a runnrng fire was kept up 
until within supporting distance of camp, when the In 
dians were repulsed in a brisk skirmish. A messenger 
was sent to Colonel Buchanan, while the enemy gradually 
surrounded the volunteers, who, by sharpshooting, kept 


them at a distance, while they selected a position natur 
ally strong and erected an enclosure of logs, fifty feet 
square and about four feet high. In this were placed 
their provisions and water; the horses of the company 
being picketed in open ground under cover by their guns. 

About four o clock in the afternoon of the seventeenth 
the Pistol-river Indians were reenforced by a body of 
Rogue-rivers, mounted and on foot. At sunset the main 
body began an approach from the mouth of Pistol river, 
protecting their persons by rolling logs in front of them, 
while smaller parties approached from the south along the 
sand hills bordering the beach, and from the east over the 
grassy flat where the animals were tethered. 

The situation now appearing critical, Abbott threw out 
a party of skirmishers under cover of a sand hill, on the 
south, and leaving the horses to be defended by the fort, 
took another small party and stationed himself among the 
drift logs and sand drifts to oppose the main body of the 
enemy. Contrary to Indian usage, the action was con 
tinued after dark, the Indians charging the volunteers 
with the most desperate courage and confidence, but suf 
fering more losses than the white men, who as long as it 
was light enough fought with rifles, and at close quarters 
with revolvers, but in the darkness found double-barreled 
shotguns most effective. In this night s fight Kirby Mil 
ler, a recruit, was mortally wounded, dying in an hour 
after being carried into the fort, and a citizen named 
Sloan wounded slightly. During the night ten horses 
and twenty mules arid equipments were captured by the 

Fighting continued with intermissions through the 
eighteenth, and until two o clock P. M. of the nineteenth, 
at which time Colonel Buchanan arrived, having moved 
as slowly as if he had not been called upon for aid, and 
saying in reply to suggestions, that he did not desire to 
engage the Indians at Pistol river. On the last day T. J. 
Sharp, an independent volunteer, was wounded, which 


comprised, with one dead and one other wounded, the 
total loss of men in a three days fight. The Indian loss 
was twelve killed, and several wounded. The bravery 
displayed by both sides was very great, the Indians having 
to advance in the face of a fortified foe, and the volunteers 
having to defend themselves against six times their 

The indifference of Buchanan to the fatigues and suffer 
ings of Abbott s party was a subject long dwelt on by the 
settlers whom they were hastening to relieve, and who 
resented the cold blooded manner in which the army 
officer reproved the volunteers for " meddling with things 
they did not understand." He might, they thought, have 
shown some kindness, even while obeying General Wool s 
order "not to recognize the volunteers in the field." He 
was to show these un martial men how to conduct an 
Indian war. We shall see presently how he did it. 

The intermission of aggressive operations during the 
interval between the order disbanding the two battalions 
and the recruiting of the regiment, afforded much en 
couragement to the enemy. The citizens of Jackson 
county seeing that the business of the country was being 
ruined, many persons having removed to the Wallamet in 
consequence of the Indian troubles, and all merchantable 
property being unsafe, whether in transit from Crescent 
City, or in warehouses after arrival; also that volunteering 
proceeded slowly, petitioned General Wool to v send a suf 
ficient body of United States troops to southern Oregon to 
protect the people, or end the war. 

Ever since Wool had assumed command of the Pacific 
department he had behaved with a degree of hauteur 
towards civil authorities which had gained him the dislike 
of every governor, and had occasioned some complaints to 
the secretary of war, who had administered to him reproof 
very irritating to his arbitrary nature. He was too good 
a soldier, however, not to obey when commanded, and 



when it was indicated to him that he should give bis per 
sonal attention to Oregon and Washington, he had yielded 
and come in person to look after army affairs in the north 

The first visit of the general to Vancouver was in 
November, 1855, and he returned to San Francisco with 
out communicating in any way with the governor of 
Oregon. About midwinter he paid a second visit to Van 
couver to inquire into the conduct of some of his own 
officers who had so far forgotten themselves as to fight in 
the same battles with volunteers even to call for the 
assistance of volunteers. Again in March he returned, 
accompanied by the troops intended to answer the petition 
of Jackson county, and conquer the Indians at the same 
time. It was while on his way to Vancouver that he left 
at Crescent City, March eighth, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 
Buchanan, with officers and men to the number of ninety- 
six, rank and file. On arriving at Vancouver he ordered 
to Port Orford, Captain Auger of the fourth infantry, to 
reenforce Major Reynolds of the third artillery, who was 
directed to protect the friendly Indians and the army 
stores at that place. Captain Floyd Jones, fourth infantry, 
at Fort Humboldt, was ordered to Crescent City to protect 
friendly Indians, and to guard army supply trains, a duty 
performed for months by the volunteers. Captain Smith 
of Fort Lane was directed to repair to Port Orford with 
eighty dragoons, to make a junction with Buchanan, and 
a general rendezvous was appointed in the Illinois valley, 
where the superintendent of Indian affairs was to meet 
the Indians in council after the troops had brought them 
to reason, and the volunteers were prevented from harrass- 
ing them. Such were the general s plans. 

But these too deliberate movements did not commend 
themselves to the governor or the people of Oregon. The 
legislature of 1855-6 had elected a southern Oregon man, 
J. K. Lamerick, brigadier-general, and, as was probably 


intended, this concession to local pride and prejudice kept 
aglow the fading fire of patriotism, and promoted the 
recruiting of the southern battalion. There were those of 
the north who found cause of complaint against Colonel 
R. L. Williams, and when an election for colonel took 
place, John Kelsey of the northern battalion was chosen 
to that office, with W. W. Chapman, lieutenant-colonel. 
Major Bruce retained his office in the southern battalion, 
and William II. Latshaw was made major of the northern, 
vice Martin resigned, to take a civil office. 

At no time had military operations ceased, but some 
companies had immediately reformed and kept the field 
in detachments, guarding trains and settlements. In the 
latter part of February, about the time of the uprising on 
the coast, the Indians had appeared again in the Illinois 
valley, killing two men and wounding three others, and 
soon after shot a citizen named Guess, who was ploughing 
in a field on Deer creek, his Avife and two children being 
domiciled at the house of Dr. White, some distance away. 
It was already night when news of the killing of Guess 
was brought to Captain O Neil, who, with a detachment of 
his company, was scouting in the vicinity ; but he set out 
immediately to recover the body of the murdered man, 
and convey it to his family. A description of that night s 
ride, and the duty performed by O Neil and his company, 
dramatically illustrates the lives and characters of the 
volunteers. It is here condensed from the pen of J. M. 
Sutton, himself a volunteer, who lived to write of those 
troublous times, but who has long since passed over to the 
silent majority: 

The trail led through a forest which intensified the darkness. 
Philip Weaver, who lived in the vicinity, acted as guide, and was 
careful to report every place where an ambush might be feared, 
when the captain would ride forward and through the pass with 
two or three men before allowing the remainder to advance. Ar 
riving at the most dangerous crossing of a deep ravine, Captain 
O Neil directed Sergeant Stannis to take four men and go down the 
gulch to a lower trail, while Corporal Geddes went above to another 


crossing, when he would move on by the main trail, and all would 
meet on the other side, thus giving an opportunity for some to 
escape, or to rescue the others in case of an attack. 

When he had reached half way to the bottom of the ravine the 
horses gave unmistakable signs of smelling Indians, and the cap 
tain, in a low voice, gave the order to trot briskly forward. They 
were met at the bottom by a volley of rifle shots. Putting their 
horses to the top of their speed, the company made a dash for the 
opposite side in the darkness and gained the bank, the Indians 
shouting and yelling. As soon as the volunteers were out of the 
ambush they returned shots and yells. Leaving their horses in care 
of a guard, they poured a brisk fire into the thicket where the In 
dians were stationed, but without being able to take aim at any 
thing. However, in a short time the Indians stopped firing and 
were heard retreating up the opposite side of the ravine; and the 
darkness not permitting a pursuit, the company, which had sus 
tained no injury, pursued its way to the house of Dr. White, where 
two men, neighbors, were found stationed midway between the house 
and the horse corral, guarding both, while Mrs. Guess, not knowing 
what was going on outside, sat waiting for her husband, ignorant of 
though fearing the cause of his absence so far into the night. 

The volunteers placed their horses, ready to mount, under guard, 
and set out to look, or to feel in the darknes for the body of the mur 
dered man, under the guidance of Mr. Weaver. As they neared the 
field they heard the oxen with which Guess had been ploughing 
still hitched to the plough running and surging around the field 
in great terror. The captain divided his men, sending one squad to 
the left hand side of the field, with orders to go up the outside to 
the middle, and there leave all but two who were to climb the fence 
and cross over to the middle of the ploughed ground, and there 
await further orders, while he performed a similar movement on 
the right. Cautiously each party filed up the sides of the fence to 
the place where they were to cross and meet in the middle of the 

Not a sound could be heard save the dull measured tread of the 
men, and an occasional rush and quick spasmodic snort of the oxen. 
Soon was heard the anxiously expected " Here it is ! " and all was 
again hushed and still. The oxen seemed to know that friends 
were near, for they were now standing quietly by the fence and did 
not move when Weaver went to them, but when they heard his 
voice, with which they were familiar, they answered with low 
plaintive lowing, while to make their recognition complete, they 
tried to touch him with their noses as he passed before them. 

When all was ready, four men took up the body on a stretcher 
rudely constructed of rails, and preceded by a guard set out for the 
house. Taking the body into a small room it was hurriedly pre 
pared for burial, for it was now nearly dawn. Four bullets were 


found to have penetrated the body from the front, one through the 
heart, one through the left shoulder, the other two through the 
breast. While the body was being prepared for burial, Weaver, 
who had called upon Mrs. Guess, came into the room and said she 
had asked if her husband was dead ; but that he had evaded the 
question, as he would not tell her. No one could be found to per 
form the painful office, and it devolved upon Captain O Neil, who, 
as all who knew him will recollect, was no coward ; yet he shrunk 
from this. But time was pressing and he must perform the sad 
duty. How it was performed is not known, but that he told her 
the terrible truth was soon evident from the anguished cries of the 
widowed wife and fatherless children ; sounds deeply painful to all 
who stood around that lifeless body on that February morning. 

Such were the duties in which volunteers were month 
after month engaged, their time being divided between 
skirmishing with the enemy, protecting property, rescuing, 
if possible, those in peril, burying the victims of savage 
hate, and removing their helpless families to places of 
safety. If they lacked the discipline of mercenary soldiers, 
they did not lack either courage or sympathy. 

The following brief reports found in some of the monthly 
returns further illustrate the conduct of the war. Writes 
Captain O Neil of how he spent the month of February: 

The company for the past month, as will be seen by weeklj- 
report, has been stationed on Applegate, and Illinois valley. The 
most of the men have been continually on the move, scouting and 
escorting pack trains from Illinois valley to Jacksonville. No gen 
eral movements have been made toward the Indians this month, 
the greatest number of men, in pursuance of order No. 22, having 
been discharged, and recruits very hard to get. This month passed 
out by mustering in of recruits on February 29, 50. 

Captain Bushey writes: 

February nineteenth, organized by electing captain, first and 
second lieutenants, and first sergeant at headquarters ; remained in 
camp until the twenty-fourth ; marched fifteen miles down Rogue 
river ; twenty-fifth, marched to Fort Vannoy, crossed the river, and 
went down two miles and camped ; twenty-sixth, captain and nine 
men went as scouts to the mouth of Jump-Off-Joe creek, returning 
in the evening ; no Indian signs discovered ; remained in camp 
twenty-seventh, twentj T -eighth, and twenty-ninth, preparing for a 
trip in the mountains. 


March first, captain, with a party of twenty-men, started into 
the mountains ; second, discovered Indian trail and followed it to 
near their camp on Wolf creek, about one mile from its mouth ; the 
captain and two men went near the camp, and found from fifty to 
one hundred men, women, and children ; third, sent one man back 
with an express to Colonel Williams, then at Fort Vannoy ; the 
same night Major Bruce arrived with all the troops around Camp 
Vannoy ; fourth, found the Indians had moved camp up the creek ; 
fifth, followed their trail ; Major Bruce arrived in the evening ; a 
night attack was talked of, but thought to be not advisable ; sixth, 
the company started back to Grave creek, and remained the seventh 
and eighth ; returned to Vannoy s, and remained there in the 
vicinity until the thirteenth, and up to the twentieth (except scout 
ing parties), and jerked beef for a trip in the mountains ; passed 
over a steep mountain two miles and joined Captains Kelsey and 
Latshaw with about ninety men, and encamped for the night at a 
place we supposed the Indians had camped in the night after the 
battle of Hungry hill ; sixteenth, came back to near the Grave- 
creek house ; seventeenth, back to Fort Vannoy ; eighteenth, a 
special order, called No. 16, from General Lamerick, that Captain 
Bushey s company, from and after this date, will hold themselves 
in readiness to act as spies until otherwise directed. 

Bushey s company performed the duty of spies during 
March and April, the weather being most of the time 
cold, with rain and snow alternately. Captain Buoy 
reported for one month, from February twenty-fourth to 
March twenty-fourth, nothing worthy of note accom 
plished : 

Received an order from General Lamerick to furnish twenty men 
to escort government stores south. I complied with order, and the 
stores were escorted to their destination. On the fourth of March 
the detachment arrived in camp ail well. Reported plenty of In 
dians south. Eighth of March, with forty men and five days pro 
visions, started for big bend of Cow creek; gone six days; no fresh 
Indian signs seen. Thirteenth, moved camp from Kent s to Wm. 
McCully s, on the Olily, thinking to better my condition. From 
thirteenth to twentieth nothing worthy of note. On the night of 
the twenty-first the Indians made an inroad into settlements, shoot 
ing several head of cattle, killing some. Our term of enlistment for 
last time has just expired; and during last four weeks I have been 
recruiting my company, consequently we have been in a confused 
state, and have not been prepared to operate against the Indians as 
desired, having a lack of men and ammunition, but now we have 


men, some arms and ammunition, and we hope to render a good 
account of ourselves in next report. 

Captain George reported for the month of March : 

March third left Camp Vannoy and moved to Fort Leland in the 
night by a forced march. Next night went from Fort Leland to the 
Six-Bit house. March fifth, marched back to Fort Leland. March 
seventh, marched all night on foot. March ninth, left Fort Leland 
and camped on Rogue river six miles below Camp Vannoy. March 
eleventh, left camp and went to Deer creek by order of Major Bruce. 
Out on scout and chasing Indians for three days, and returned to 
camp below Vannoy s on the fourteenth. March seventeenth, 
Captain George returned from furlough, bringing twelve recruits. 
March nineteenth, all hands in camp to attend election. March 
twenty-second, Lieutenant William Chaplin resigned. Sergeant F. 
D. Chaplin discharged by order of General .T. K. Lamerick. March 
twenty-third, F. M. Rhodes transferred from company C to Captain 
M. M. Williams s company. Left camp six miles below Vannoy s 
for Jacksonville. Camped near Jewett s ferry. March twenty- 
fourth, started from Jewitt s before daylight; got as far as Colonel 
T ; Vault s; were overtaken by an express from Major Bruce ordering 
a return to Camp Vannoy; arrived at Camp Vannoy; were ordered 
to Camp Hayes; arrived at Camp Hayes same evening. Twenty- 
fifth, met with losses mentioned on next page. Twenty-ninth, 
returned to Vannoy s. 

The losses referred to in Captain George s report were 
twenty horses with their equipments, and several rifles 
and revolvers. They were lost in the engagement de 
scribed below in Captain O Neil s report, previous to which 
he was encamped in Illinois valley, and scouting. 

Sunday, March twenty-third, whilst preparing to start an escort 
with pack train to Fort Vannoy, an express came in camp reporting 
two men killed by Indians on Slate creek, and a large band of 
Indians making their way to Mr. Hayes house. Lieutenant Arm 
strong, with his command numbering about fifty men, immediately 
started, and on arriving within three hundred yards of the house, a 
heavy fire was opened on all sides by the Indians, who had com 
pletely surrounded Mr. Hayes house, and numbered near two hun 
dred warriors. The order was immediately given to go through 
and reach the house, which was promptly obeyed. On arriving at 
it, and finding the family secure, the men immediately returned to 
the place of their first attack. Discovered two men killed (John 


Davis and Alexander Caldwell), and one man (a packer) severely 
wounded. The dead men were carried off by six men during a 
heavy fire from the enemy. Had they done any good shooting, 
many a life must have been sacrificed. The fight then became 
general, which lasted until dark, when the Indians, after making a 
great number of fires, and as we supposed, burning their dead, drew 
off. An express was immediately dispatched to Major Bruce, and 
likewise to the inhabitants of Illinois valley. Major Bruce, with all 
the available forces under his command, arrived on the following 
morning. On Tuesday, while preparing the whole command to 
march in pursuit of the enemy, an express arrived reporting a pack 
train robbed by Indians on Deer creek. Twenty-five men, well 
armed and mounted, started direct for the place, Major Bruce with 
the remainder flanking out in different directions. On arriving at 
a low divide, a heavy cross fire was opened by the enemy who were 
lying in ambush. Another engagement commenced. On the first 
fire two of Captain George s company were killed, and two of Cap 
tain O NeiPs slightly wounded. The men took their stations, 
killing three Indians, sure. Major being on the point of outflanking 
them, they scattered over the whole country, and not having a suf 
ficient force to make a successful fight, Major Bruce with a portion 
of each company, returned to Illinois valley to get the families 
together for their safety. The remainder of the force returned to 
Camp Hayes. Major Bruce, with men from each company, started 
today with three pack trains to Fort Vannoy, and to get sufficient 
provisions, as well as men to make a more successful attack, as the 
Indians are in great force, and will require a strong number to strike 
anything like a decisive blow. 

( The loss sustained by O NeiPs company, besides the two men 
already named, were a dozen horses and mules, with equipments 
for half of them, six rifles and revolvers, and many blankets, all of 
which, except the horses killed or wounded, went to enrich the 

The Indians were driven farther south at this time by 
operations in the Cow creek region, as we learn from the 
report of Captain Edward Sheffield for the month of 

Fourteen men employed as spies ; sixteen employed building fort 
at Smith s station on upper Cow creek. March first, twenty-six of 
company employed escorting government train to Jacksonville. 
Twenty men under first lieutenant stationed in lower Cow creek 
valley. Remainder of company at Fort Smith. March sixth, 
twenty-six of company on expedition down Grave creek under 
Major Bruce. March twenty -fourth, twenty of company com- 


manded by Second Lieutenant Capron, with Major Latshaw s com 
mand in a battle with the Indians on Cow creek, six miles below Fort 
Smith. March twenty -eighth, thirty men commanded by Captain 
Sheffield, with Major Latshaw s command on an expedition in the 
Cow creek mountains. March thirtieth and thirty-first, detach 
ment of thirty in the mountains. Detachment of fifteen stationed 
in lower Cow-creek valley. Remainder of company at Fort Smith, 
escorting trains, building fort, etc. William Dooley was killed in 
battle of the twenty -fourth ; A. H. Woodruff and Thomas Gilmore, 
wounded slightly. 

By the promotion of Latshaw to major, the first lieu 
tenant of his company, John M. Wallen, became captain. 
Tn a reminiscence of the Rogue-river war, and Latshaw s 
campaign in Cow creek valley, he writes as follows: 

From Cow creek we followed the Indians six days. It was in 
March, and the weather rough and blustery. One night we were 
encamped in a canon, and expecting an attack, for the Indians 
were near. Clubfooted David Wilson was our corporal. We burned 
off the dead leaves from a small circle of ground, dug a hole, and 
built a small fire in it, and when the ground was dry put out the 
fire, and erected a small awning over it so he would not suffer from 
cold. Wilson said: "I had taken my place, put my feet in the 
hole, drawn my wraps around me, and taking my gun upon my 
knee was ready for duty. The night settled down dark and dreary. 
I had been on duty several hours, and was sitting there thinking of 
the day s march, and the probability of the Indians attacking us. 
At the same time I was raising the hammer of my gun, and lowering- 
it to see how quickly and noiselessly it could be done. Suddenly a 
flash ran down the barrel. I had the hammer back when the flash 
came, and I pulled the trigger at the same instant bang ! bang ! 
the report of two guns mingled, but few who heard them knew that 
more than one gun was fired. I called to the guard ; he answered 
all is well. When I went to Captain Wallen s tent on being re 
lieved, he said, Wilson, what did you shoot at? The guard says 
you killed a mule; he heard it struggle. I answered, f wait, captain, 
till morning. Half an hour later the Indians fired several times 
into camp. We did not return the fire, as it was too dark to distin 
guish any object. Next morning we found a dead Indian about 
fifty yards from where I sat, shot through the head." 

On the twentieth of March, Captain Buoy resigned, when 
P. C. Noland was elected captain of his company. The 
first return of Captain Nolaud has this by Captain Buoy: 


On twenty-fourth of March just as a small detachment of my com 
mand were ready to make an excursion into the adjacent mountains 
(from Ten-Mile prairie), a messenger came running, stating that 
the Indians were in Carnas valley. Forthwith we repaired to said 
place, and found the beautiful little valley enveloped in a cloud of 
smoke. The Indians had burned several houses, and killed some 
stock, but had retired to the mountains. We followed, found and 
chastised them, killing two, and wounding others. They stole nine 
of our horses on the rounds. 

With the coining of spring the Indians became more 
active, although the weather was still unusually severe; 
appearing occasionally in force, but more often in raiding 
parties, which had the mysterious power of vanishing 
when the volunteers came in sight, and generally of car 
rying with them some property not their own. It was 
only by the organization of independent companies that 
it was possible to guard the settlements at a distance from 
headquarters, although detachments were stationed at cer 
tain points, as at Illinois valley, and at Hayes place in 
Deer-creek valley. After the massacre at the mouth of 
Rogue river, and the proclamation of the eleventh of 
March calling for minute men, John Creighton of Port 
Orford raised a company for this service, who gave a good 
account of themselves in the following report: 

In consequence of depredations committed by the Coquille 
Indians deserted from the Port Orford reservation, I called out my 
company of minute men for the purpose of chastising them, and to 
induce them to return to the reserve at this place. On the twenty- 
seventh of March I proceeded to the Coquille river, meeting some 
Indians on the route, who fired on us and fled. Upon reaching the 
mouth of that river, I found one tribe of Indians encamped there, 
and attacked them on the morning of the thirtieth, routing them 
with the loss on their part of fifteen men, all their canoes, arms, 
provisions, etc., and took thirty-two women and children prisoners. 
The latter I have sent to Port Orford, where they have been taken 
in charge by Mr. Olney, Indian agent at that place. Learning that 
there was a party of Indians near the forks of the river, I started 
the same day for that place, and succeeded in killing three men be 
longing to the " Jackson " tribe, also taking several prisoners, prin 
cipally squaws and children. Since then I have been in pursuit of 
others belonging to those tribes and a party of twenty-five from 


Umpqua valley, who had been engaged in the difficulties there last 
fall. We have succeeded in taking some four or five Umpquas, and 
twenty Coquilles of Washington s tribe ; also twenty-three of the 
north fork Indians. The company has been in actual service from 
the twenty-sixth of March to the thirtieth day of April, both days 
included. I have also stationed guards at Coquille, Sixes, and Elk 
river ferries, according to request of S. S. Mann, quartermaster of 
this place. These men are still on duty. 

W. H. Harris of Coos bay was captain of a company, also 
raised immediately after the Gold Beach massacre, or 
about the twenty-eighth of February, and which was after 
wards " recognized" by the governor, and continued in the 
service under the new organization of recruits to the 
southern army. In his report to the adjutant-general, 
Harris wrote : 

On the first day of March I set out with twenty men of my com 
mand from Empire City to Port Orford, in view of forcing open a 
communication between these two places. Every citizen on the 
coast between Empire City and Port Orford had fled to one or the 
other of these places, leaving their homes and property unprotected. 
From best information I was advised that a party of Indians on the 
Coquille were then preparing to make a descent upon this helpless 
section, thus forsaken of its inhabitants, in view of seizing the un 
protected property of our citizens as the spoils of the enemy. After 
cooperating with the forces at Port Orford in such a way as would 
best prevent a catastrophe thus fatal, I returned with my command 
to Empire City, where I arrived on the tenth of March. 

Believing that a party of disaffected Umpquas were scouting 
between the waters of Coos and Coquille, in view of enlisting the 
Coos bay Indians, I set out from Empire City on the fourteenth of 
March with a detachment of twenty-one men. I proceeded with 
my command up Coos river, and thence southwardly to the north 
fork of the Coquille. At Burton prairie I saw the old camp of the 
Indians I was in search of, but they had taken the alarm some 
days previous, and had fled to the mountains. The exhausted state 
of my men and supplies would not admit of pursuit, and I returned 
with my command to Empire City on the twenty-fourth. 

On the twenty-fifth of March I sent a detachment of ten men to 
the upper Coquille to act in concert with Captain Creighton s com 
pany in view of securing the friendly Indians in that quarter to the 
charge and control of the Indian agent. This detachment was 
under command of Lieutenant Foley, whom I joined in person at 
the scene of action on the twenty -sixth. Having secured the pledge 


of the friendly Indians in that quarter to submit to the agent, and 
remove at his instance to Port Orford, I returned with my com 
mand to Empire City on the first day of April. 

A portion of the Indians at the forks of the Coquille deserted 
their camps and fled to the mountains to avoid being removed by 
the agent ; and as was then believed, joined the disaffected TJmp- 
quas and Cow-creeks scouting upon the waters of the north fork. 
On the sixteenth of April I set out with a detachment of thirty 
men, with sufficient supplies for a thorough campaign in that 
quarter. Making headquarters at Burton s prairie, I sent an ex 
press to Mr. Seth Lount of Port Orford (then at Coquille, and 
acting in the service of the Indian agent at Port Orford ), in view of 
securing the removal of the Indians, with information that I was 
proceeding against the disaffected Indians ( Coquilles and others ), in 
the mountains. He sent a friendly Indian with the news that " the 
Coquilles had better come in, or they would be killed." On the 
receipt of this information the Coquilles came in, and the others 
removed their encampment and fled. Finding that the Indians 
were on the alert, and circumstances being unfavorable to any 
further pursuit, I returned with my command to Empire City on 
the twenty-seventh of April. 

Learning that the agent was on his way with the Coquille In 
dians to Port Orford, and fearing that his forces might not be suffi 
cient to prevent a possible effort to escape on part of the Indians at 
the mouth of the Coquille, I detached, on the twenty-eighth of 
April, ten men to the aid of that undertaking, which detachment 
returned to quarters the eighth of May. Having received informa 
tion from the Coos bay Indians that a number of the Coquille In 
dians had stolen away from the reserve at Port Orford, and were 
hidden near Coos bay, I sent, April twenty-eight, under command 
of Lieutenant Foley, a detachment of twelve men with instructions 
of reduce the fugitives to obedience. The lieutenant with his com 
mand succeeded in capturing the squad, which consisted of eight 
men, six women, and three children, which where secured to the 
proper authorities and forwarded to Port Orford, May second. 
Meanwhile, I have furnished numerous escorts necessary for the 
protection of the quartermaster and commissary s stores, with their 
trains and other means of transportation from the Umpqua to this 
place, and also from Eugene City to Port Orford. 

The state of Indian affairs in this section of the coast country is 
by no means of a settled nature. The Coos bay Indians have here 
tofore acted in the most trustworthy manner. But the effort of the 
agent in the removal to the mouth of the Umpqua is attended with 
dissatisfaction on part of a large proportion of their number. They 
understood, in their treaty with General Palmer, that they would 
be permitted to remain on the bay for two years after the time of 
treating before their removal. A part of the Indians have consented 


to go and are gone, while the residue yet remain, and it is likely 
that difficulties may yet arise. 

Although I have not accomplished with my command as much 
yet as I could have desired, you will nevertheless see from my re 
port that I have by no means been idle. It would have been my 
pride, if circumstances had afforded me the opportunity, of render 
ing greater service to my country, but I must remain content with 
the conviction that I have done the best I could considering the cir 
cumstances which have attended niy command. I must say, in 
conclusion, that it has been my aim to induce as much discipline 
in my ranks as my ability afforded; and it is with pleasure that I 
can speak in terms of high commendation both of the officers and 
privates of my command. My company consists of forty -five men, 
rank and file. 

According to Captain W. A. Wilkinson s report for 
April, and a part of May, he was employed during most 
of this time in escort duty between Camp Vannoy, Fort 
Leland, Camp Hayes, and Camp Wagoner, and in the spy 
service; also in escorting government pack trains from 
Crescent City mountain to Camp Yannoy. Captain James 
Barnes spy company were in the field performing their 
dangerous duty from the twenty-sixth of February to the 
close of the campaign. 

Thus every company of from thirty-five to sixty men 
constituted a detached and often an independent com 
mand, which, while obeying orders in a general way, 
was forced to take the responsibility of conducting the 
war, wherever the enemy were found, upon its own best 
judgment, often for weeks at a time. 

On the eleventh of April, Colonel Kelsey joined a de 
tachment of Captain Robertson s company, and with 
Barnes spy company and a detachment from Captain 
Wallen s company, set out from Fort Leland, down Grave 
creek, in search of the enemy, taking four days pro 
visions, packed on mules. The following is a part of 
Kelsey s report: 

I accompanied the command in person. Camped that evening 
about five miles below here (Fort Leland). Next morning took 
the line of march over the creek, and camped on the night of the 


twelfth on the east side of Mount Reuben. Some Indian signs dis 
covered during the day. The company moved over Whisky creek 
and camped that night on Mount Wilkinson. More Indian signs 
discovered during the day. Captain Barnes, with a portion of his 
spies, together with one man of Captain Robertson s detachment, 
set out after supper over the mountain for the purpose of examining 
the meadows and the bar on Rogue river for the Indians. Soon 
after dark it commenced raining and snowing, and by the morning 
of the fourteenth the snow was four inches deep on the mountain 
where the spies were, and a dense fog hung on the meadows and 
the bar. The snow continued to fall on the mountain ; so much so 
that Captain Barnes considered it at that time not practicable to 
attempt to reconnoiter the meadows and bar, and returned to camp 
about nine o clock A. M. Captain Barnes and myself were still 
anxious that the meadows and bar should be examined, and with 
eight of his spies and two of Captain Robertson s company, I set 
out down Rogue river to the meadows. At the same time I ordered 
the remainder of the company back across Whisky creek, and we 
proceeded down the river across the base of Mount Wilkinson, 
about six miles to a high point that ran down to the river bank and 
overlooked the whole country down to near the meadows, the 
meadows being obscured from view by another point of the moun 
tain also running down to near the meadows. The party now being 
very much fatigued from the hard travel over a rough country, 
Captain Barnes suggested the propriety of his taking four men and 
going forward, and examining the bar and meadows. I remained 
behind with the six men, and watched his movements, so that in 
the event of the enemy discovering his movements and attempting 
to cut him off, I could bring the men left with me to their assist 
ance. As soon as Captain Barnes came out on the high ground a 
signal gun was fired on the other side of the river near the bar. It 
was now late in the morning, and frequently a storm of snow swept 
by them ; and finding that they were discovered, he, with his men, 
returned to me, when, being out of provisions, we abandoned the 
examination in that quarter and returned to camp. We made the 
hardest marches in this expedition of any I have been in since I 
joined the army. 

As late as the fifteenth of April the weather was still 
cold, with rain and snowfalls of considerable depth on the 
mountains. But Lainerick and Kelsey had determined 
upon concentrating the regiment at or near the main 
camp of the Indians at Big Meadows, apd attacking them 
in force. The murder and mutilation of McDonald Hark- 
ness, about the twenty-fifth, two miles from the meadows, 


furnished fresh incentive to the volunteers in that neigh 
borhood to strike back. The time seemed propitious, for 
the Indians, so continuously harrassed by them, had begun 
to show signs of weakness, some of the poorer bands being 
not unwillingly taken prisoners and sent to Fort Lane, 
where they were fed and protected. 

On the sixteenth, Lieu tenant -Colonel Chapman and 
Major Bruce moved with the entire southern battalion 
down the south side of Rogue river towards the meadows; 
the northern battalion passing down the north side entire, 
with the exception of Captain Thomas W. Prather s spy 
company, provisioned for thirty days; with Colonel Kel- 
sey and Brigadier-General Lamerick in the field, Lamerick 
having declared to the governor his intention to stay with 
the enemy until they were subdued or starved out. 

On encamping at Little Meadows on the twenty-first the 
picket guard was fired upon. A force of forty men, ten 
each from the companies of Noland, Sheffield, Robertson, 
and Wallen, was ordered out to engage the Indians, who, 
however, fled before them down a deep canon, under cover 
of the thick underbrush, and were soon beyond reach. 
Captain Barnes then went out with twenty-five picked men 
to reconnoiter, and found that the Indians were encamped 
in considerable numbers on a bar on the south side of the 
river between Little and Big Meadows. 

The effective force in the camp of the northern battalion 
numbered two hundred and ten men. With a detach 
ment of fifty men, Colonel Kelsey made a reconnoissance 
on the morning of the twenty-second, having to cross a 
deep canon and ascend a high mountain densely timbered 
with fir and underwood, but having near the summit a 
small prairie, near which he halted his command and sent 
forward spies. They immediately returned with the in 
formation that the enemy s camp was in plain view from 
the prairie. Kelsey then moved forward to ascertain 
whether or not the Indians were fortified, and was fired on 
while taking observations. He drew up his men in order 


of battle, but after a few shots exchanged, the Indians 
suddenly disappeared. A few moments later, however, the 
pickets reported the Indians crossing the river in strength, 
and it was thought prudent to retreat to camp. On the 
following day Barnes, with his spy company, was unable 
to discover anything further of importance. On the same 
day the southern battalion arrived in camp, its available 
force being three hundred and thirty-five men, swelling 
the army to five hundred and forty-five men fit for duty. 

Colonel Kelsey on the twenty-fourth, assisted by Major 
Latshaw, led one hundred and fifty men of the northern 
battalion towards the enemy, using a detachment of fifty 
as a decoy to draw him into an engagement, when he was 
fired on. At the same time, Major Bruce assisted by Ad 
jutant J. M. Cranmer, led an equal number of the southern 
battalion down to the Big Meadows to make a reconnois- 
sance of that favorite position of the Indians, but found 
none there as expected ; nor were the volunteers able to 
discover them that day. 

Again, on the twenty-fifth, tweiit} r -five men from the 
northern battalion were sent to take a position on the high 
ground northwest of camp, to note whether the enemy 
passed up into the mountains to the west, and to discover, 
if possible, what he was doing. At the same time, twenty- 
five men from the southern battalion took a station on 
high ground southeast of camp, to observe the enemy s 
movements during the day. Nothing was discovered be 
yond what was known, that the Indians numbered several 
hundred men, women, and children. 

About sundown on the twenty-sixth, the picket guard 
observed Indians firing on some cattle belonging to the 
regiment, which had strayed three-quarters of a mile from 
camp, when Colonel Kelsey with one hundred men, imme 
diately pursued them, they fleeing before him. It looked, 
indeed, as if they could not be brought to battle, so easily 
did they elude pursuit, and so difficult of access was their 


On the twenty-seventh, however, Kelsey and Latshaw 
took out another detachment of one hundred men from 
the northern battalion; twenty-five of Captain Wallen s 
company, under his command ; twenty-five from Robert 
son s company, under Lieutenant Phillips; and the same 
number each from Sheffield s and Noland s companies, 
under their proper commanders. The sortie was made 
before daylight in order to take possession of a deep canon 
a mile west of the Indian camp, if possible, undiscovered, 
and to bring on a battle by annoying the enemy from this 
position, and decoying him into attacking on the east (the 
river here running north for some distance ) side of the 
river, which the spies had discovered to be well guarded 
and dangerous to cross for several miles above and below. 
Besides the hazard of crossing, the steep and rocky hills 
on the west side left no room for the passage of troops. 

Major Bruce and Adjutant Cranmer led forth another 
detachment of one hundred and fifty men, from the south 
ern battalion, and took a position on the elevated prairie 
before mentioned, in order to be in the way of a retreat 
should the Indians attempt it. This movement was also 
made before daylight. With the coming of day a heavy 
fog arose which concealed either of these forces from the 
view of the enemy, enabling Kelsey to pass the only ex 
posed point on his route without discovery; but which 
cleared away suddenly soon after he had made the passage, 
leaving the river in full view. 

Contrary to expectation no Indians were found in the 
canon; and in accordance with the determination of the 
colonel in command, with the concurrence of the major, 
and the volunteers, who were anxious to get at the enemy 
they had pursued so toilsomely for months, this detach 
ment made but a short pause, but proceeded another mile 
and a half, under cover of fir aud oak timber, to a ridge 
running down to the river, and sparsely covered with 
trees, immediately opposite the bar on which the Indians 
were encamped. 



When the Indians discovered the troops they were 
within three hundred yards of their camp, with the river 
between them. Instead of showing a disposition to fight, 
the Indians were thrown into confusion. Many had not 
yet come out of their wickiups. The women and children 
were running hither and thither, in alarm. To escape the 
heavy fire of the volunteers, these hid themselves in the 
timber in the rear of their camp; while a portion of their 
fighting force stationed themselves behind rocks and trees 
and fought in defense of their camp; and another portion 
took to the cover of the trees lining the river out of range 
of the volunteers guns, to watch .the movements of the 
attacking party. 

So interested were they in these, that they failed to 
discover Major Bruce s detachment which had hastened to 
support Kelsey, until Captain George s company had de 
livered a fire into their midst. Bruce was then stationed 
on Kelsey s left, and firing was kept up all day, with the 
result of a very considerable loss to the Indians. Ap 
parently, nothing saved them from a total rout but the 
river; and on the other hand the river cut off their re 
treat. The loss to the volunteers in this engagement was 
one man wounded in Wilkinson s company Elias D. 
Mercer. That night the regiment encamped at the Big 

The following morning Colonel Kelsey and Major Lat- 
shaw took one hundred and fifty men and two canvas- 
boats two miles below the battle ground to look for a 
crossing of the river, with the design of scouring the 
mountains in the vicinity of the enemy s camp ; while 
Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman with an equal force took up 
the position occupied the previous day, to prevent the es 
cape of the Indians, as well as to divert their attention 
from the movement below. 

When the colonel s command reached the river, how 
ever, he found that his purpose had been divined, and the 
Indians were stationed in the thick timber ready to receive 


him. He could only fire on them across the river, while 
they were sheltered by trees; and after three hours of am 
munition wasted, the volunteers returned to camp, with 
one man wounded of Sheffield s company John Henry 
Clifton. The Indian loss, so far as known, was two killed. 

On the twenty-ninth of April, the wounded having been 
sent to Camas valley under a heavy escort, and the Indians 
having abandoned their position on the opposite side of 
the river, the regiment crossed over and occupied it, find 
ing seventy-five deserted camp fires, indicating a large 
number of occupants. This was, indeed, the refuge to 
which, during the winter, the predatory savages had 
escaped after their successful raids into the settlements 
and their robberies of pack trains. Here were found the 
bones of numerous oxen slain, and the remains of hun 
dreds of broken packages of provisions and ammunition. 
The Indians had fared better than the volunteers, many 
of whom were at that moment almost barefoot, with only 
a blanket betwixt them and the weather, which still con 
tinued stormy and cold. 

As the spies reported the Indians gone down the river, 
and as provisions were growing scarce in camp, with no 
prospect of improvement in the weather, Colonel Kelsey, 
so reporting, was ordered back to Fort Leland. It was 
decided, however, to erect a fort at the meadows, and a 
site was selected May first by Majors Bruce, Latshaw, and 
Hoxie, and the companies of Captains Wilkinson, Keith, 
Williams, and Blakesley were detailed to remain at the 
meadows under Major Bruce to construct it, which fortifi 
cation was known as Fort Lamerick. The companies of 
Sheffield and Noland were ordered to Roseburg, via Camas 
prairie, under Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman, while Robert 
son, Miller, O Neil, Wallen, and Alcorn accompanied the 
colonel to Fort Leland. 

It will be observed that during the month occupied by 
these events, the volunteers had received no aid from the 


regular army. "I have good reason to believe," wrote 
Lamerick to the governor, " that General Wool has issued 
orders to the United States troops not to cooperate with 
the volunteers. But," he added, "the officers of Fort Lane 
told me they would, whenever they met me, most cordially 
cooperate with any volunteers under my command." 

Captain Smith of Fort Lane had been directed to make 
a junction with Colonel Buchanan s force at Port Orford, 
whence the united forces were to repair to the mouth of 
the Illinois river to meet Superintendent Palmer and the 
Indians of the Rogue-river valley, with whom a council 
would be held. The time seemed propitious for making 
propositions of peace, and the superintendent, who had all 
the Indians of Oregon, and some of those of Washington, 
on his hands in a state of insurrection, was anxious to get 
these troubles settled for the good of all concerned, him 
self included, for if he could not control his wards some 
one else would be found who could be induced to under 
take it. 

In the contention between the adherents of General 
Wool and the governors of Oregon and Washington as to 
the best methods of restoring peace, Palmer had adopted 
the views of the regular army that the volunteer service 
kept up the irritation, and prevented a peace which was 
desired by the Indians. That the Indian leaders did not 
desire a peace, except on their own terms the absolute 
possession of the country he did not believe. But the 
volunteers had many times called out to them to come 
and have a peace talk, which advances had invariably 
been met with scoffs and taunts anything but indicatory 
of a disposition to yield. And so the fighting went on ; 
because the volunteers believed in preventing robberies and 
massacres instead of chastising, in a half-hearted way, the 
perpetrators after the crimes had been committed. But 
now the United States authorities were making ready to 
try the effect of their policy in bringing about the settle 
ment of the Indian question in Oregon. 


Captain Smith moved with his eighty troopers from 
Fort Lane about the thirteenth of April, a few days before 
the volunteers marched to their destination at the meadows. 
At the crossing of Rogue river, which was effected on a raft, 
he found a camp of Indians, which he attacked and de 
stroyed. Traveling through the mountains in rain and 
snow was exceedingly trying to dragoons, whose horses 
often were unable to carry them up the sharp and slippery 
ascents, compelling them to climb on foot. Wrote one of 
them: "We suffered much on the march. There was a 
thick fog on the mountains, and the guide could not make 
out the trail. We were seven days straying about, while 
it rained the whole time. Our provisions ran out before 
the weather cleared and we arrived at Port Orford." The 
experience was at least useful as showing what the volun 
teers had endured ever since October. 

When Colonel Buchanan first arrived at the mouth of 
Rogue river, some of his younger officers and the soldiers 
plunged boldly into the forest in pursuit of the fleeing 
savages, but finding the scrambling over hillocks and 
through underbrush fatiguing, and the sting of arrows 
annoying, had been glad afterwards to leave such work to 
those who chose to perform it; while their chief spent 
about a month in the effort to induce the Indians in 
that region to go upon their reservations, without success. 
After occupying a defensive attitude for this period of time v 
on the twenty-sixth of April, Buchanan sent Lieutenant 
Ord, with one hundred and twelve men, to destroy a vil 
lage of the Mackanotins, eleven miles above Whaleshead, 
and to force them upon the reservation, which was accom 
plished with some fighting and loss of one soldier. 

But there was plenty of fighting yet to be done in other 
quarters, as appeared when Ord with sixty men, on his 
way to Crescent City to escort a large train with army 
stores to the mouth of Rogue river on the twenty-ninth, 
was attacked at the Chetcoe river by about an equal 
number of Indians, losing in the skirmish one man killed 


and three wounded. The Indians were repulsed with a 
loss of six killed, and were driven from the field. On 
other occasions the same hostility was manifested, and 
there seemed little hope for peace, without first conquering 
the Indians. 

The volunteers had at no time ceased operations, their 
intention being to force the Indians upon the regulars, 
who would deal with them according to the laws of civil 
ized warfare. Captains Harris, Creighton, and Bledsoe 
continually scouted in the mountains and along the 
streams, giving the coast tribes no rest. Lieutenant Ab 
bott surprised a party of Coquilles on that river in two 
eanoes, and killed twelve, including one woman. Twice 
had the Coquilles agreed to go and remain on their reser 
vation, and twice ran away before they could be disposed 
of. It seemed as if extermination was to be their fate, for 
in no other way could they be subdued. Emissaries from 
chief John of the Rogue-rivers, and Enos, his half-breed 
ally, continually alarmed and agitated the fickle and ig 
norant creatures, who acted without knowledge or reason, 
and were governed by fear, first of one and then another 
calamity; the worst of all being that of having to leave 
the country where they were born. 

Early in May, Buchanan moved the whole force of reg 
ulars to Oak Flat, near the mouth of Illinois river. Among 
the Indians who had surrendered or been taken prisoners, 
these last being chiefly women and children, were some 
who could be used as messengers to the various bands, to 
urge them to meet him and the superintendent, to hold a 
council with a view to establishing peace. After consider 
able of this sort of correspondence, the chiefs finally came 
together on the twenty-first of May at the place appointed, 
no restraint being put upon them, John of Scott valley, 
and his son; Rogue-river George; Limpy, and other chiefs 
both of the Rogue river and Cow creek bands, to listen 
to what the agents of the United States had to say which 
they might be pleased to accept. 


The council was not a friendly one, notwithstanding 
every effort had been made by the white chiefs to have it 
appear so. It was evident that if the Indians surrendered 
it would only be because they were weary of the present 
state of warfare, and wanted time to recuperate, not that 
they were convinced that it was for their good or even that 
they might not eventually conquer. 

"You are a great chief," said John to Colonel Buchanan. 
"So am I. This is my country; I was in it when those 
large trees were very small, not higher than my head. 
My heart is sick with fighting, but I want to live in my 
country. If the white people are willing, I will go back 
to Deer creek and live among them as I used to do. They 
can visit my camp, and I will visit theirs; but I will not 
lay down my arms and go with you on the reserve. I will 
fight. Good-by." Whereupon he took his departure un 
restrained, as had been agreed upon. 

The other chiefs, however, after much argument, con 
sented to give up their arms on the twenty-sixth near the 
meadows, and allowed themselves to be escorted, a part by 
Captain Smith to the coast reservation, by the way of Fort 
Lane, and the remainder to be escorted by other military 
officers to Port Orford, thence to be conveyed by sea to the 
reservation. One of the arguments which Captain Smith 
had felt himself forced to use, was that of the hangman s 
rope should any of them be taken with arms in their 
hands roaming about the country. 

On the twenty-sixth, as agreed upon, Smith was at the 
rendezvous with his eighty dragoons to receive them. 
That they failed to appear on that day did not give him 
any uneasiness, the day being a stormy one and the moun 
tain trails slippery. But during the evening he received 
a visit from two Indian women, who brought him the in 
telligence that he might expect an attack from John on 
the following day. He now understood the failure of the 
Indians to keep their appointment, and hastened to change 
his camp from the low ground to higher, and to dispatch 


a courier to Colonel Buchanan, with a request for reen- 
forcements, as John had sent word he would fight him. 

The position to which Smith removed his camp was an 
elevation, oblong in shape, between two small streams 
entering the river from the northwest, and with an open 
surface of about two hundred and fifty by fifty yards. 
The south side was difficult of ascent, the north side still 
more abrupt, the west barely approachable, while on the 
east the ground sloped gently. Directly north of this 
mound was a similar one, covered with trees, and within 
rifle range. Between the first knoll and the river was a 
narrow strip of bottom land, which was known as "The 

The night of the twenty-sixth was a fatiguing one to 
the soldiers, who were occupied, without sleep, in moving 
camp and preparing for battle. Early on the twenty- 
seventh, the Indians appeared in considerable force on the 
north knoll, and directly forty warriors approached up the 
eastern slope to Smith s camp, declaring that they had 
come to lay down their arms, and asking to see the com 
mandant in person; but Smith knew enough of their 
plans to avoid being seized by them, simply directing 
them to deposit their arms at a spot outside the camp. 
Foiled in their design, the party retired, casting frowning 
looks towards the howitzer, which was so planted as to 
command the approach from the east. A detachment of 
infantry, under Lieutenant Sweitzer, was guarding the 
western approach, while the dragoons were stationed along 
the front and rear. All this was observed and understood 
by the forty warriors, and could be seen from the north 
knoll as well. 

Finding Smith prepared to fight, and that they would 
not be allowed in camp with arms in their hands, the 
Indians attacked about ten o clock, charging up the east 
and west slopes at once, being repelled by the howitzer on 
one side and by rifles on the other, when they sought the 
cover of the trees on the north mound. Successive charges 


were made during the day, chief John thundering forth 
his orders in the voice of a stentor, and so clearly that 
they were understood in Smith s camp. Not being able to 
come up by the east slope on account of the howitzer, nor 
the west on account of the riflemen, the Indians made 
continued attempts to get into camp by escalade at the 
more precipitous sides, keeping the dragoons busy to 
prevent it, the}^ being, too, at a disadvantage on account 
of the inferiority of their musketoons to the rifles of the 
Indians. A number of the attacking party rolled back to 
the bottom of the cliff, to annoy dragoons no more. Rifle 
balls from the north mound compelled the soldiers to use 
the dead bodies of horses as barricades; but no entrance 
to camp was effected. Thus passed the long day of the 
twenty-sixth. The night was spent in digging, without 
the proper implements, rifle pits, arid erecting breastworks. 
This was the second night the command had passed with 
out sleep, food, or water. 

On the twenty -eighth, the Indians renewed the attack. 
To fatigue was now added the torture of thirst, it being 
impossible to reach water without imperiling the com 
mand. The wounded and the able men were alike suf 
fering, a circumstance observed by the Indians with the 
highest satisfaction, who called out frequently, "Mika hias 
ticka chuck?" (You very much want water?) " Ticket, chuck?" 
(Want water?) "Halo chuck, Boston!" (No water, white 
man!) To this taunt, they added another (referring to 
Captain Smith s threat at the council ground of hanging 
all Indians found roaming with arms in their hands), that 
they had ropes for every trooper, the soldiers not being- 
worth the ammunition it would cost to shoot them; and 
occasionally a rope was dangled over the breastworks with 
the invitation to Captain Smith to hang himself, 3 delivered 

3 Captain Smith had told John at the council ground in answer to his defiant utter 
ances : " We will catch and hang you, sir ; but if you go on the reservation, you can 
live in peace. Do you see those wagons, blankets, clothes, horses? You will have 
everything good, plenty to eat, peace. If you do not come, do you see that rope, 
sir?" So, John, when he had the captain at a disadvantage, retaliated: "Hello, 


in fairly good English. Offensive epithets were continu 
ally applied to the soldiers; for Indians, like Homer s 
heroes, fight with the sword of the spirit, which is the 
tongue, of course, as valiantly as with their arms. They 
boasted that the soldiers and all their possessions would 
soon fall into their hands. Such was their daring, that 
they crawled up to the barricades and with hooked poles 
drew away the soldiers blankets, who ventured not to 
defend them. 

By four o clock of the second day, a third of Smith s 
command was killed or wounded, and yet no help had 
came from Colonel Buchanan s camp. For some time the 
firing had ceased on both sides, and the only sounds heard 
in camp were the groans of the wounded and their cries 
for water. About sundown the Indians held a council, 
and planned to charge upon the white camp with their 
whole force. It was an hour never to be forgotten a 
silent and awful hour, in the expectation of speedy and 
cruel death. 4 

Presently, as by the baton of a concert leader, an infer 
nal chorus burst forth the war-cries of each band in 
John s host joining in one blood-curdling burst of fury, 
and the rush was made up the east and west approaches. 
To their surprise, the soldiers received them with cheers, 
and returned the charge. The sight which inspired the 
cheers and the charge had escaped the eyes of the Indians, 
intent on the work before them. It was Captain Augur 
with seventy-five men of company G, fourth infantry, who 
was approaching through a ravine, and which charged the 
Indians in the rear, as Smith met them in front. The en 
gagement lasted no longer than fifteen minutes, when the 
Indians fled to the adjoining hills, taking with them their 
dead and wounded. Augur lost five men, whose bodies 

Captain Smith ! You go on the reservation ? Hiyu chick chick ( a great many wagons, 
good traveling); hiyu icta(mauy things); hiyu muck-a-muck (plenty to eat); hiyu 
clotftes ( plenty to wear ) ; wake clatawa reservation ( if you do not go to the reservation ) ; 
take lope Captain Smith ; do you see this lope, Captain Smith ? " Graver s Public Lift, 
MS. 49. 

* Letter of a soldier. 


were found next day, stripped naked and hung to trees, 
with their eyes picked out, and otherwise fearfully muti 
lated. In one part of the field was found a pile of ropes 
made of green bark of trees, with which John expected to 
have hnng all Smith s command. 

The flight of the Indians when they had so great an 
advantage both of position and numbers, is to be attrib 
uted to alarm, lest a still larger force should be coming 
up, or to the fickle nature of the savage, or to both to 
gether. Chief John was a bolder, firmer, and stronger 
man mentally than any chief west of the Cascade moun 
tains. When dressed in civilized costume, he presented 
an appearance not very different from that of many a 
hard working farmer of Pennsylvania or Ohio of fifty 
years of age. His features were marked by that expression 
of grief, which is a common characteristic of savage coun 
tenances after youth is past, intensified in his case, no 
doubt, by disappointment at the. result of the war. In 
strong contrast to him was his son, who possessed no in 
dications of strength of any sort, and who had a lumpish, 
stolid face, devoid of any expression. Yet like his father, 
or in imitation of him, he on occasions displayed a desper 
ate courage worthy of the admiration of the United States 
military officers. Indians generally, however, after a valor 
ous onset, run away on the first sign of a turn in affairs 
favoring the enemy. 

In the time occupied by the movements of the regulars, 
the volunteers had not been idle. Some companies whose 
time had expired were marched to Roseburg and dis 
charged, their places being taken by companies of second 
recruits, by order of the brigadier-general. Other com 
panies were still serving out the time of their enlistment, 
and even exceeding it. Captain Wallen s report shows 
that his company marched to Fort Lamerick at the 
meadows and back to Fort Leland, returning to the mead 
ows, leaving a detachment as escort on the road from 


Canonville to Rogue river. The company returned from 
the meadows to Roseburg via Camas valley, sending a de 
tachment under Lieutenant McClure back to the meadows, 
and marching to quarters at Fort Smith on Cow creek, 
where it arrived by the end of the month. 

Captain Keith had been ordered to meet Captain Smith 
on Rogue river near the meadows, but being ill, requested 
Wallen, whose time of enlistment had expired, to go in 
his stead. The company commanded by him had not 
been discharged, yet was under no obligation to obey 
orders. On calling their attention to the situation, and 
asking for volunteers from his own and other companies 
similarly placed, one hundred and forty-five men were 
found who would join him, only sixty-eight of whom 
were accepted, the commissary stores being low, the re 
mainder promising to follow as soon as provisioned. 

On the twenty-seventh, the day that Smith was attacked, 
Wallen s command came upon an encampment of the 
hostiles, which fled before them without firing a gun, and 
which proved to be composed of the bands of Limpy and 
George, and some Galice-creek Indians, showing that they 
were not in the fight with the regulars. A few Indian 
women and children were captured on this occasion. 

Two days later, on the twenty-ninth, the command was 
surprised while resting under some trees at the noon halt 
by some of John s band retreating from the battlefield, 
and H. C. Huston of Kieth s company, wounded. An en 
gagement then took place in which the Indians were 
routed, and many fled down the river towards Buchanan s 
camp, where they eventually surrendered themselves, being 
driven to it by the volunteers. 

The day following this skirmish, Daniel Cooley of Wal 
len s company, was fired on and wounded while looking- 
for his revolver lost in the battle. Proceeding on down 
towards the meadows, the volunteers picked up many 
bands of John s now scattered army. At Smith s camp 
they found Superintendent Palmer, who had arrived to 


take part in the expected surrender to the United States 
officers. His messengers had been sent into the mountains 
to collect the fugitives which the volunteers were guard 
ing, and now offered him, to the number of several 

Instead of coming in as invited, John sent the volun 
teers a challenge to engage in battle with them, which was 
the more cheerfully accepted as the hundred men left be 
hind at Fort Smith had come up. At the hour appointed 
by John for the contest, the Indian warriors issued from 
the cover of the woods in two lines, advancing directly 
towards the volunteers until within one hundred and fifty 
yards of their lines, when they halted, and at the word of 
command from the chief, fired a voile} 7 , which, being 
aimed too high, whistled harmlessly over the heads of the 
white men, who returned the fire with a more sure aim 
and deadlier result.. The Indians front line then took to 

The second line stood until several volleys had been 
fired, when panic seized them and they also retreated. In 
vain the iron chief commanded in thunder tones; they 
paid no heed to him, but ran until beyond the reach of 
the guns of their white conquerors, when they squatted on 
the ground in a circle, in the hot sunshine, and wailed 
piteously for two hours in sorrow for a young chief who 
had been killed, and over their own misfortunes. Once 
more John endeavored to rally them, but the heart had 
gone out of them. It was the old pathetic story, " By the 
waters of Babylon they sat down and wept." 

After a few hours spent in this manner, John sent word 
by a woman to Captain Smith that he wished to surrender 
if his people could be allowed to retain their guns. The 
proposal was refused. He then sent his son to ask leave 
to retain half their guns, which was also refused. Another 
proposition to keep one-third of their arms was in like 
manner negatived, and the Indians ordered to stack their 
arms against a rock, or return with them and fight. John 


himself at last came to entreat permission for his people 
to keep some arms, and when lie was denied walked away 
with a malediction on the hard turn-turn (heart) of the 
white conqueror. 

Towards night forty warriors laid their guns against the 
rock, and small squads kept coming in until darkness set 
tled down over the camp, when, to prevent any treacherous 
movement, they were ordered to remain without camp, at 
the peril of their lives, during the night. When morning 
came the surrender was completed, John coming in last. 
He set his gun against the rock, then suddenly grasped it, 
but before he could raise it to his shoulder fifty rifles were 
alined at his heart. He again relinquished it, and sul 
lenly, with a defiant manner, took his place among the 
prisoners. 5 At the final settlement, however, of the terms 
of surrender, it was agreed that neither he nor any of his 
people should suffer any punishment for acts committed 
by them, nor be compelled to surrender any of the prop 
erty captured by them during the war. 

As soon as his wounded could be moved, Smith set off by 
easy marches for the mouth of the river, embarrassed by 
the number of his prisoners, which more than doubled 
that of the regulars and volunteers. Some fears were ex 
pressed that the Indians, even without guns, and only 
armed with stones, might make an attack on numbers so 
inferior; but no outbreak occurred on the passage. 

On arriving at the mouth of Rogue river it was found 
that a band of renegades from the coast tribes were about 
attacking the camp of the miners at Gold Beach, which 
again furnished work for the troops, who together killed 
about forty of them before capturing the remainder. As 
the regular camp moved from Rogue river to Port Orford, 
it gathered up the Pistol-river and Chetco Indians, the 
month of June being spent in this movement, which 
ended at Port Orford, July second. On the ninth, about 

5 This account of the surrender of John s band was given by Captain Wallen, who 
was present. It agrees substantially with other accounts given at the time. 


seven hundred, not including John s people, were placed 
on board a vessel in charge of Captain Smith, to be taken 
to Portland, and thence to the northern end of the coast 
reservation in Polk county. Four hundred others, with 
whom went John s band, and the Pistol-river and Chetco 
bands, were sent to the southern end of the reservation 
ma the valley of the Coquille and Roseburg, at which 
place Captain Smith met them with his command as escort. 

The removal of the Indians was not accomplished with 
out much difficulty, the coast tribes being especially 
troublesome, and escaping in parties of twos, threes, or 
half dozens. At the reservation affairs did not move 
smoothly. It was for the most part a rugged and heavily 
timbered country, bounded by mountains on one side and 
by the sea on the other. The Indians complained that the 
forest did not afford game. The houses hastily erected 
were uninviting. The shops, mills, farming machinery, 
and other beneficent gifts promised by the terms of the 
several treaties, were absent. The climate, though health 
ful, was rude compared to the warm southern airs of the 
Rogue-river country. Even the commissary department 
was a failure, because congress delayed making appropria 
tions, and the agents having to purchase on credit, were 
forced by that circumstance, and the long distance over 
which freight had to be hauled, to accept as flour the 
sweepings of the mill in the Wallamet, or at the best shorts 
ground over, 6 which the contractors thought good enough 
for Indians. 

It might here be said that during the Cayuse war, sim 
ilar frauds were practiced upon the provisional govern 
ment, and by the same mill at Oregon City. 7 When good 
flour sold at Portland for eight dollars a barrel, the con 
tractor who furnished the reservation charged the govern 
ment twenty dollars a barrel for shorts, delivered at the 

6 Report of Ross Browne in United States executive documents, 39, p. 42, thirty-fifth 
congress, first session, volume IX. 

7 Owned in 1856 by George Aberuethy and Robert Pentlaud ; in 1846-7 by Abernethy 
and associates. 


agency. The quarterly expenses of the Siletz reservation, 
which the Indians found so undesirable, were over one 
hundred thousand dollars, a large part of which sum was 
expended in improvements. The agent, R. B. Metcalf, 
found his pay to be so meager as to offer no inducement 
for him to remain ; though he did remain, and come out 
at the end of four years with forty thousand dollars. 

These apparent abuses were known by and complained 
of among the Indians before they came to the ears of the 
people. The superintendent was powerless to prevent it, 
und finally resigned before congress had made good the 
obligations entered into between him and the Indians, a 
new superintendent, A. F. Hedges, being appointed in his 
place. This was also a source of disquiet among the In 
dians, who had looked upon Palmer as the representative 
of a powerful government, whose office was permanent 
like that of one of their own chiefs. Hedges remained in 
office but a few months, when he also resigned, and J. W. 
Nesmith was appointed. 

The constant cry of the Indians from the first was that 
they were homesick, and longed to return to their native 
country. Rogue-river Sam and others complained that 
they had been deceived in the matter of their land in 
southern Oregon; that by the treaty of 1853 the Table 
Rock reservation had not been sold to the government, 
but that they had been driven away from it by the war; 
iind that Captain Smith, Superintendent Palmer, and the 
agents, had promised them they should return to it when 
the war was ended. Then why were they not permitted to 
go back, now that there was no more war? They did not 
like the country they were in; it was cold, sickly, and 
destitute of game. They might as well be killed as die of 
disease on the reservation. 

They even suspected the agent of attempting to kill 
them by poison, such was the effect of the food furnished 
them, added to other causes of disease, namely, venereal 
infection, change of climate, indolence, and over-eating. 


After a hospital was erected for them, they would not re 
main in it more than two or three days, but would return 
to their huts, and having nothing else to do, gamble away 
the clothing furnished them, take cold, and die. What 
ever the causes, out of the six hundred Rogue-river and 
Cow-creek Indians taken to the Siletz reservation in 1856, 
there remained in 1857 but three hundred and eighty-five. 

John said to Ross Browne, appointed by the government 
in 1857 to examine into the affairs of the Indian reserva 
tions : " For my own part my heart is sick. Many of my 
people have died since they came here; many are still 
dying. There will soon be none left of us. Here the 
mountains are covered with great forests; it is hard to get 
through them. We have no game; we are sick at heart; 
we are sad when we look on the graves of our families. 
A long time ago we made a treaty with Palmer. There 
was a piece of land at Table Rock that was ours. He said 
it should remain ours, but that for the sake of peace, as 
the white settlers were bad, we should leave it for a while. 
When we signed the paper that was our understanding. 
We now want to go back to our country. During the war 
my heart was bad. Last winter, when the rain came and 
we were all starving, it was still bad. Now it is good. I 
will consent to live here one year more; after that I must 
go home." 

John was quite in earnest in his determination to return 
to Table Rock, and by his incendiary councils kept up a 
spirit of unrest and rebellion among the chiefs, which 
caused the military authorities to send him and his son to 
San Francisco to be confined in Fort Alcatraz. When the 
steamship Columbia, which carried them, was off Hum- 
boldt bay, they made an attempt to take the vessel that 
they might escape to their beloved country. The sergeant, 
in whose charge they were, being asleep in his berth, 
about one o clock at night they attempted to take the 
revolver with which he was armed, but awoke him in the 
act. In the struggle which ensued, the chief throttling 



the sergeant and his son endeavoring to disarm him, John 
forgot his prudence and gave the terrifying war-whoop, 
which startled every soul on board, and brought officers 
and passengers to the scene. A fight for liberty followed, 
in which a couple of passengers were wounded, and in 
which the young chief received an injury which caused 
him to lose a leg. After a residence of several years at 
Alcatraz, John was pardoned and allowed to return to the 
reservation, where, as he expressed it, he " could see again 
his wife and daughters, who would tend upon him and 
comb his hair." 

The military establishments which were erected to guard 
and control the Indians subsequent to their removal to the 
reservation, were Fort Sheridan at the Grand Rond reser 
vation in Yamhill county, which was abandoned in a few 
years, or as soon as the Indians on this reserve could be 
removed to the Siletz; a blockhouse at the Siletz agency 
where a "corporal s guard" was stationed; Fort Hoskins 
in King s valley, Benton county, thirty miles from the 
agency, where a full company was stationed, and Fort 
Umpqua, at the mouth of Urnpqua river, where it was 
placed to intercept fugitives escaping from the reservation, 
as well as to look after some still uncaptured bands, whose 
depredations upon settlers and wars among themselves 
were disquieting to the white inhabitants. At the latter 
post were stationed at different times Major Scott and 
Lieutenants Loraine, Piper, and Harding, the latter be 
coming a general in the civil war. 

The post at Port Orford was maintained for a year or 
two. As late as March, 1858, the miners and settlers at 
and near the mouth of Rouge river petitioned Governor 
Curry to " recognize" a company of Gold Beach guards, 
consisting of nineteen men under the command of Elisha 
H. Meservey, which company was formed to protect the 
white inhabitants from murder, arson, and robbery 
crimes being committed by the several small mountain 


tribes remaining at large. This company received the 
approbation of the governor, serving until July. 

In the meantime, the Indian superintendent was com 
pelled to call upon the military department for aid, and 
Lieutenant Ihrie, with special agent William Tichenor of 
Port Orford, finally succeeded in collecting and forcing 
upon the reservation these roving savages. On the march 
of Lieutenant Ihrie s supply train from Pistol river, where 
he was encamped, to Crescent City for provisions, the escort 
was attacked and one soldier and ten animals . killed. 
Tichenor, with a considerable number of prisoners, was 
waiting for an escort to the reservation; but Ihrie being 
unable to furnish it, and the Indians being very restless, 
set out with a small party to conduct them out of the 
dangerous vicinity. Above Rogue river the prisoners at 
tempted an escape, and, in the struggle for the mastery, 
fifteen of them were killed. 

In his report to the superintendent, Tichenor says : " They 
had eight days previously come off the war path, having 
killed the remainder of the Sebanty band. They stated 
the facts to me, telling me how they killed two little boys 
of the band by throwing them into the river; describing 
their struggling for life in the water, and how they beat 
them under with stones. They were the most desperate 
and murderous of all the Indians on the coast. As they 
never intended to surrender or go on the reservation fifteen 
of them were killed and two wounded. * * * Ten men 
and twenty-five women and children yet remain in that 
country, and I am ready to make further efforts to capture 
them, or induce them to go on the reservation should you 
again desire my services." 

On the second of July, 1858, Captain Meservey of the 
Gold Beach volunteers wrote to adjutant-general of Oregon: 
"The last of the red men have been captured and shot, 
only women and children spared, and they are en route 
for the reserve. All further apprehension of danger is at 
an end, and this portion of Oregon will rest in Iranquility." 


Thus ended the Indian wars in this quarter of Oregon. 
They were unavoidable. They laid waste the homes of 
white and red men alike; but the white race was com 
pelled to make good its own and its enemy s losses, and 
while it ploughed and planted and built, the Indians were 
fed, nursed, and taught, so far as they would be. When a 
large proportion had died off, who were unfit to live, the 
remainder began a new growth and increase in numbers. 
The children born on the reservation know no other home, 
and even their elders are at length content, living a half 
civilized life, which, compared with their former nomadic 
existence, is one of indolent ease. 





THE commencement of the Rogue-river war was not by 
any means a merely local disturbance, but was a part of a 
widely extended effort of the Indians of Oregon, and also 
of Washington, to rid themselves of the presence of the 
white race. A comparison of dates shows a widespread 
combination of the tribes, from the Siskiyou mountains in 
the south, to the southern boundary of British Columbia 
in the north; and from the waters of the Pacific on the 
west, to the springs of the Columbia on the east. Every 
where was discontent, jealousy, and hatred of the superior 
and encroaching civilization. That there was reason for 
much of the discontent in treaties cornpulsarily made, 
tardily ratified, and fraudulently executed, cannot be de- 



nied; nor that the fault was with the government rather 
than with the people. Every interest of the people in the 
first instance was in favor of peace; but the peace once, 
nay many times, broken, the preservation of their lives 
and property forced upon them the alternative of war, 
even to extermination, the end of which was, as we have 
seen, first conquest, and finally banishment for the inferior 
race. And all this, no matter where the responsibility 
rested, was in consonance with that law of nature which 
decrees the survival of the fittest. 

About at the date of the outbreak in the Rogue-river 
valley, several citizens of the Puget sound region traveling 
to the Colville mines through the country of the Yakimas, 
were murdered by that tribe. The apology offered for 
their conduct subsequently was a story of outrages perpe 
trated upon their women by these men a story never 
believed by their acquaintances at home, and never proven. 
Other small parties were also murdered. 

As soon as the news of these murders reached sub-Indian 
agent A. J. Bolan, who was on his way to the Spokane 
country to meet Governor Stevens, who, it will be remem 
bered, had, after the council of Walla Walla, continued 
making treaties with the northern tribes of east Washing 
ton and Montana, he turned back to investigate the matter. 

prom The Dalles he proceeded to the Ahtanahm Cath 
olic mission, near which Kamiakin had his home, to learn 
from the chief himself the truth or falsity of the report. 
In order to show his confidence in the good disposition of 
the Yakimas, he traveled unattended, and consequently 
only Indian evidence was obtainable of what occurred 
between the agent and the chief. It was said that the 
latter was insolent and threatening, and that Skloom, the 
brother of Kamiakin, informed Bolan that a council of 
war had been held in Grand Rond valley, at which he, 
and Lawyer of the Nez Perces, had spoken in favor of 
peace. The haughtiness and unfriendly manner of the 


chief were said to have annoyed Bolan, and that he threat 
ened in his turn the punishment of the hostile Indians by 
the United States government. However that may have 
been, Bolan was murdered by a nephew of Kamiakin, son 
of his half-brother Owhi, who, while pretending to escort 
him, killed both the agent and his horse, and burned the 
bodies, together with everything belonging to either. 

Bolan not appearing at The Dalles at the expiration of 
a sufficient time for his business, Nathan Olney, agent at 
that place, dispatched a friendly Des Chutes chief as a spy 
to discover the cause of the delay. To this chief Kamiakin 
confided his intention and ability to carry on a war against 
the white race, stating that he was prepared to fight for 
five years if all were not sooner killed ; and that the tribes 
which refused to join him would be treated as enemies, 
and killed or enslaved. Father Brouillet also wrote to 
Mr. Olney that ever since the treaty council in the spring, 
war had been the absorbing topic among the Indians 
about the Ahtanahm mission. 

That the Yakimas were prepared for war was ascertained 
to be quite true, large stores of powder having been pur 
chased notwithstanding the legislative act against selling 
arms and ammunition to the Indians, and everything 
pointed to a combination of several powerful tribes, in 
cluding the hitherto friendly Walla Wallas, and the 

Rumors continued to come in of murders committed 
upon persons going to or returning from the Colville 
mines, which being confirmed, towards the last of Septem 
ber acting Governor Mason of Washington Territory 
made a requisition upon Forts Steilacoom and Vancouver 
for troops to protect the travel upon this route. This 
requisition was honored by Major Rains, in charge of 
Vancouver, ordering Brevet-Major Haller of The Dalles 
into the Yakima country with a force of about one hun 
dred men and a howitzer, to cooperate with a force of fifty 
men under Lieutenant W. A. Slaughter from Steilacoom. 


This force was .not sent to punish the Indians, but to 
"inquire into" the cause of Kamiakin s hostility; and 
General Wool, in May following, in a letter to the National 
Intelligencer, charged Haller with "proceeding on his 
mission without the precautions necessary against savage 
warfare," certainly a contradiction of terms. Just as 
certainly Haller did not expect so soon to find the Yaki- 
mas prepared for battle; while, on the other hand, the 
civil authorities of Oregon and Washington felt great 
anxiety for the fate of the expedition, as, should it fail, a 
long war might be apprehended. 

About sixty miles from The Dalles, which post he had 
left on the second of October, just as his command was 
emerging from a deep ravine on Pisco river, Haller found 
himself confronted on the afternoon of the sixth by fifteen 
hundred Indians, who attacked him. The battle con 
tinued until night, when he gained possession of a hill, 
where he remained surrounded; the battle being renewed 
on the morning of the seventh, and lasting all that day, 
the troops being without water, and with little food. 
During the second night a courier was dispatched to The 
Dalles for reinforcements, and to apprise Major Rains of 
the situation of Haller^s command. 

Towards evening of the third day, the suffering from 
thirst being unbearable, the cavalry horses and pack ani 
mals were allowed to go free to find water and grass, only 
as many horses as were necessary to move the wounded 
and the ammunition being retained. Preparations were 
also made to retreat towards The Dalles; the howitzer be 
ing spiked and buried, and the baggage and provisions 
burned. The command was organized in two divisions, 
the advance under Haller with the wounded, and the rear 
under Captain Russell, acting as guard. With character 
istic indetermination, the Indians had withdrawn to a 
sufficient distance to allow of such a movement; and but 
for the guide in the darkness having led the advance off 
the trail, so that fires had to be lighted to signal the rear 


guard, the departure of the troops might not have been 
discovered. The fires having betrayed their flight to the 
Indians, and not having been seen by Captain Russell, 
Haller, with only half his command, was compelled to 
keep up a running fight to within twenty-five miles of The 
Dalles, where he was met by Lieutenant Day of the third 
artillery, with forty-five men, who proceeded to the border 
of the Yakiina country, and a block house was erected on 
the Klickitat river. Slaughter s command from Fort 
Steilacoom crossed the Cascades by the Nachess pass; but 
finding a large force of Indians in the field, and learning 
that Haller had been defeated, fell back to the west side of 
the mountains. The loss sustained by Haller was five 
men killed and seventeen wounded, besides a large amount 
of property destroyed, abandoned^ and captured. As well 
as could be ascertained, forty Indians were killed. 

The reenforcement called for by Haller was one thou 
sand men. The regular force immediately sent out was 
three mountain howitzers, three hundred and fifteen artil 
lery and infantry, and nineteen officers. It was at this 
juncture of army affairs that Captain Fitzgerald, as before 
mentioned, was ordered from Fort Lane, where he was 
needed, to take station at The Dalles for its protection in 
the absence of the garrison. Captain M. Malony was 
ordered to the field from Fort Steilacoom, leaving only a 
few men to guard the families at that point. Lieutenant 
Williamson s escort of nineteen dragoons, which was at 
Vancouver, was also pressed into the service under com 
mand of Lieutenant Phil. Sheridan. But all these recruits 
did not suffice to make a force equal to that demanded; 
and Major Rains called upon Governor Mason for two 
companies, and upon Governor Curry for four companies 
of volunteers, to take the field as fast as raised and 
equipped. At Vancouver there were only enough arms to 
equip two Oregon companies, the other two being required 
to find arms and equipments wherever they could. Gov 
ernor Mason applied to the commanders of the Deeatur 


and Jefferson Davis, two government vessels in Puget 
sound, for arms, and obtained them, and the Washington 
volunteers were stationed at various points west of the 
Cascades for the defense of the settlements, except one 
company organized to go to the relief of Governor Stevens, 
still in the Blackfoot country. 

Although Governor Curry did not refuse to furnish 
Rains the four companies asked for, being satisfied that 
a hostile combination existed among the Indians through 
out the northwest, he issued his proclamation October 
eleventh for eight companies, to act independently of, but 
in conjunction with Major Rains, which companies he 
placed in the field as rapidly as they were armed and sup 
plied. The following is the governor s proclamation : 

Whereas certain Indians have been guilty of the commission of 
criminal offenses, and have combined and are now engaged in hos 
tilities that threaten the peace and security of the frontier settle 
ments ; and the chief in command of the military force of United 
States in this district having made a requisition upon the executive 
of this territory for a volunteer force to aid in suppressing the 
attacks of said hostile Indians: I issue this my proclamation call 
ing for eight companies of mounted volunteers, to remain in force 
until duly discharged ; each company to consist of one captain, one 
h rst lieutenant, one second lieutenant, four sergeants, four corporals, 
and sixty privates, each volunteer, if possible, to furnish his own 
horse, arms, and equipments ; each company to elect its own offi 
cers , and rendezvous without delay on the right bank of the Will 
amette river, opposite Portland, where they will be mustered into 
service on reporting to the adjutant-general of the territory. 

The following named counties are expected to make up the 
number of men wanted, and in order to facilitate operations the 
subjoined named gentlemen are respectfully requested to act as 
enrolling officers in their respective counties : 

Multnomah county, one company, Shubrick Norris ; Clackamas 
county, one company, A. F. Hedges ; Washington county, one com 
pany, W. S. Caldwell ; Yamhill county, one company, A. J. Hem- 
bree; Marion county, one company, L. F. Grover; Polk county, one 
company, Fred Waymire; Linn county, one company, L. S. Helm; 
Wasco county, one company, O. Humason. The last named com 
pany will organize at The Dalles, and report in writing to the adju 

Our fellow-citizens who may be in possession of arms, rifles, 
muskets, and revolvers, are most earnestly desired to turn them over 


to assistant Quartermaster-General A. Zeiber, or his agent, in order 
that they may be appraised, and supply a deficiency that is most seri 
ously experienced. 

Given under my hand at Portland, this eleventh day of October, 
A. D. 1855. 

By the governor : GEO. L. CUBBY. 


Secretary of the Territory of Oregon. 

On the thirtieth of October, Major Rains inarched for 
the Yakima country with all the regular troops on the 
Columbia and north of it, being reenforced also by two 
companies of volunteers in the service of the United 
States, and on the fourth of November was joined by 
Colonel J. W. Nesmith, with four companies of independ 
ent Oregon volunteers, the combined forces arriving in the 
heart of the Yakima country on the seventh, and doing 
some skirmishing on the eighth. But now that the 
Indians were confronted with equal numbers, they were 
more coy. Their horses being fresh could carry them 
faster in flight than the horses of the cavalry could follow 
in pursuit. Being driven up the Yakima to where the 
river flows through a gap, they took a position well forti 
fied upon the heights, but upon being charged by the 
regular troops under Haller and Captain Augur, hurriedly 
evacuated it, leaving it in their possession. 

On the tenth, skirmishing was renewed, when Major 
Armstrong of the Oregon volunteers, with the company 
of Captain Hayden, and part of Captain Kelly s 1 company 
under Lieutenant Hanna, made an attempt to surround 
and charge the Indians in a defile of the hills, but owing 
to a misunderstanding the charge was made at the wrong 
point and failed, the Indians escaping among the rocks 
and trees. 

The troops now moved on to the Ahtanahm mission, 
which was found deserted, but where Major Rains re 
ceived a letter from Kamiakin, written by the hand of 

1 After the election of Kelly to be lieutenant-colonel, Samuel B. Stafford com 
manded this company. 


Father Pandozy, missionary, in which the chief made 
overtures of friendship, on his own terms. As a part of 
the history of the conduct of the war, the reply of Major 
Rains to Kamiakin is here presented: 

ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSION, November, 13, 1855. j 
Kam-i-ah-kin, Hias Tyee of the Yakima Indians : 

Your talk by Padre Pandozy is just received. You know me, 
and I know you. You came among the white people and to my 
house at The Dalles with Padre Pandozy and gave me a horse, 
which I did not take, as Pan-a-wok had given Lieutenant Wood 
another horse for him. You came in peace we come in war. And 
why ? Because your land has drunk the blood of the white man, 
and the Great Spirit requires it at your hand. 

You make the sign of the cross, and pray to the God of truth for 
mercy, and yet you lie when you say you " were very quiet, the 
Americans were our friends; our hearts were not for war," until 
Governor Stevens changed your feelings ; for long before the treaty, 
which you agreed to, you proposed to the Walla Walla chief, Peu- 
peu-mox-mox, to go to war, and kill off all the whites. He told us 
so. You had been preparing for this purpose a very long time; and 
your people agreed with the Cay uses, at the Walla Walla council, 
before the treaty was made, to murder all the whites there, which 
was only prevented by the Nez Perec s disagreeing. 

You know that you murdered white men going to the mines who 
had done you no injury, and you murder all persons, though no 
white man had trespassed upon your lands. You sent me a delega 
tion to stop Hamilton and Pierce settling in your country. I wrote 
them a letter, and they left. You murdered your agent Bolan for 
telling you the truth that the troops would come upon you for 
these murders. Has his death prevented their coming? I sent a 
.handful of soldiers into your country to inquire into the facts. It 
was not expected that they should fight you, and they did right to 
return back. Your foul deeds were seen by the eye of the Great 
Spirit, who saw Cain when he killed his brother Abel, and cursed 
him for it. Fugitives and vagabonds shall you also be, all that 
remain of you, upon the face of the earth, as well as all who aid or 
assist you, until you are gone. 

You say now, " if we will be quiet, and make friendship you will 
not war with us, but give a piece of land to all the tribes." We will 
not be quiet, but war forever, until not a Yakima breathes in the 
land he calls his own. The river only will we let retain this name 
to show to all people that here the Yakimas once lived. 

You say that you will fight us with thousands, and if vanquished, 


those of you that remain will kill all your women and children, and 
then the country will be ours. The country is ours already, as you 
must see from our assembled army ; for we intend to occupy it, and 
make it too hot to hold you. We are braves, and no brave makes 
war with women and children. You may kill them as you say, but 
we will not; yet we are thirsting for your blood, and want your 
warriors to meet us, and the warriors of all tribes wishing to help 
you, at once to come. The snow is on the ground, and the crows 
are hungry for food. Your men we have killed ; your horses and 
your cattle do not afford them enough to eat. Your people shall not 
catch salmon hereafter for you, for I will send soldiers to occupy 
your fisheries, and fire upon you. Your cattle and your horses, 
which you got from the white man, we will hunt up, and kill and 
take them from you. The earth which drank the blood of the 
white man, shed by your hands, shall grow no more wheat nor 
roots for you, for we will destroy it. When the cloth that makes 
your clothing, your guns, and your powder are gone, the white man 
will make you no more. We looked upon you as our children and 
tried to do you good. We would not have cheated you. The treaty 
which you complain of, though signed by you, gave you too much 
for your lands, which are most all worthless to the white man ; but 
we are not sorry, for we are able to give, and it would have benefited 
you. After you signed the treaty with Governor Stevens and Gen 
eral Palmer, had you have told us that you did not wish to abide by 
it, it would have been listened to. We wanted to instruct you in 
all our learning ; to make axes, ploughs, and hoes to cultivate the 
ground ; blankets to keep you from the cold ; steamboats and steam- 
wagons which fly along swifter that the birds fly, and to use the 
lightning which makes the thunder in the heavens to carry talk, 
and serve as a servant. William Chinook at The Dalles, Lawyer, 
chief of the ISTez Perec s, Sticcas, and We-atti-natti-timine, bias tyee 
of the Cayuses, and many others of their people, can tell you what 
I say is true. You, a few people, we can see with our glasses a long 
way off, while the whites are as the stars in the heavens, or leaves 
of the trees in summer time. Our warriors in the field are many, 
as you must see ; but if not enough, a thousand for every one more 
will be sent to hunt you, and to kill you ; and my kind advice to 
you, as you will see, is to scatter yourselves among the Indian tribes 
more peaceable, and there forget you ever were Yakimas. 

G. J. RAINS, Major, U. S. A. 
Brigadier-General W. T., commanding troops in the field. 

Some skirmishing on the march resulted only in the 
loss of fifty-four cavalry horses, which was party repaired 
by captures from the Indians. Two soldiers were drowned 
in the Yakima river, and two volunteers of Captain Cor- 


nelius company wounded. Snow had fallen on the moun 
tains to a depth of two or three feet, and the Indians being 
scattered, Rains returned to The Dalles, and thence, on the 
twenty -fourth of November, to Vancouver, to report to Gen 
eral Wool, while Colonel Nesmith proceeded with the Ore 
gon volunteers to Walla Walla. 

General Wool, in his letter to the National Intelligencer, 
speaking of the Yakima campaign, said that Rains had 
ample force, without the volunteers, to have defeated all 
the Indians in the country, but that the major "partaking 
somewhat of the alarm pervading the country, increased 
and stimulated by political demagogues," called for two 
companies from Washington, and four from Oregon, but 
that Governor Curry called for a regiment which was not, 
nor any part of it, "in any sense of the term, necessary to 
defend the inhabitants of Oregon." Having arraigned 
the major and Oregon s governor in these very positive 
terms, he explained and justified his own course, saying 
that as soon as he was informed of Major Haller s defeat, 
which "created great excitement and alarm throughout 
Oregon and Washington, lest all the Indian tribes in the 
territories should at once combine and come down upon 
the settlement," he had ordered all the disposable troops 
at his command to the seat of war, and had followed in 
person, at the same time calling upon the United States 
government "for at least an additional regiment." 

In this connection the logical reader is prone to inquire 
why it was proper for the army to believe in the threatened 
danger to such an extent as to need another regiment, and 
not the governor of Oregon? Months must pass before 
the regiment from the east could be placed in the field, 
while Oregon could place one there in ten days time. 

The general further related that he arrived at Vancou 
ver on the seventeenth of November, having been detained 
on the passage from San Francisco eleven days by gales, 
storms, and a fire, which crippled the steamer on which 


he had taken passage, by which she was very nearly lost. 
He was anxious, he said, to establish a post at Walla 
Walla, "in order to prevent a war against the Walla 
Wallas by the troops of Governor Curry;" but that an 
inspection of the government troops and animals dis 
covered the men to be without proper clothing, and the 
animals, owing to the previous expeditions of Haller and 
Rains, unfit for service. Still he would have taken posses 
sion of the Walla Walla country before winter set in, and 
directed the chief quartermaster to procure, if possible, 
the means of transportation; but this could not be ob 
tained without great expense and delay, owing to the 
country having been drained of resources by the requisi 
tions of Governor Curry, which compelled him to bring 
wagons, horses, mules, boats, and forage from California. 
Before they could arrive the Columbia river was closed by 
ice, and communication with the country east of the 
mountains cut off, while he was himself ice-bound at 
Vancouver for three weeks, during which he was unable 
to communicate either with The Dalles or San Francisco. 
No reference was made to the fact that Governor Stevens 
with a small party was in the Blackfoot or Coeur d Alene 
country, unable, presumably, to come through the hostile 
tribes who were determined upon cutting him off; nor to 
the fact that acting Governor Mason had intimated to the 
military authorities at Vancouver that he desired them to 
do something for the relief of Stevens, and had at last 
caused to be raised a company for this purpose, which was 
commanded by special Indian agent B. F. Shaw, successor 
to the murdered Bolan. But a single company of fifty 
men could not go through the hostile countries, and there 
were other reasons for the action of Governor Curry which 
the general ignored. Wool, against the earnest protest of 
Rains, disbanded the company raised for the relief of 
Stevens, and mustered into the service of the United 
States, sending a courier to the Blackfoot country to ad 
vise Stevens to return to Washington territory by the way 
of New York and the Isthmus of Panama! 



Not all of this was known to Governor Curry when he 
ordered the Oregon troops to Walla Walla, but he in 
cluded among his reasons for occupying the Walla Walla 
country, the situation of the governor and superintendent 
of Indian affairs of Washington territory. 

On learning the defeat of Haller in the Yakima country, 
Nathan Olney, sub-Indian agent at The Dalles, hastened 
to Walla Walla, in order, if he might, to prevent a com 
bination of the Oregon Indians with the Yakimas, ru 
mors being abroad that the Walla Wallas, Cayuses, and 
Des Chutes were disaffected and unfriendly. He reported 
to R. R. Thompson, in charge, that he found Peu-peu-mox- 
niox encamped on the north side of the Columbia, which 
circumstance he construed as unfavorable, although by 
the terms of the treaty the chief was entitled to the privi 
lege of occupying a trading post at the mouth of the 
Yakima river for a period of five years; or for a period of 
one year from the ratification of the treaty, of occupying 
any tract in possession at that time. As the treaty had 
not yet been ratified, he had the unquestioned right to 
reside in any part of his own country until the sale was 
confirmed. But Olney communicated to his superior that 
in his judgment all the movements of Peu-peu-mox-mox 
indicated a determination to join the Yakimas in a war 
against the white race; and Thompson agreed with him, 
because the Walla Walla chief had, in the month of Sep 
tember, when Bolan was killed, declared to him that the 
Walla Walla valley had not been sold. 

Olney, on observing these signs, resolved to remove so 
far as possible all cause of hostilities until such time as 
the United States government should have fulfilled its 
part of the treaty obligations, and to remove the white set 
tlers out of the country. A conference being held with 
McKinlay, Anderson, and Sinclair, officers of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, it was decided that before leaving the 
country a large amount of ammunition in store at the fort 
should be destroyed to prevent it from falling into the 


hands of the Indians, which was accordingly done by 
throwing it into the Columbia river, Olney giving an 
official receipt for it, and relieving the officer in charge, 
Mr. James Sinclair, of all responsibility for its loss. The 
fort contained at this time Hudson s bay goods to the 
amount of thirty-seven thousand dollars, and a large 
amount of government stores left there by Stevens when 
he proceeded to the Blackfoot country. All this property 
was placed in charge of a friendly Walla Walla chief, and 
Olney issued the following order: 

FORT WALLA WALLA, October 12, 1855. 
To the Settlers in the Walla Walla and Umatilla Valleys : 

I am of the opinion that the Indians in this vicinity are about to 
join in the war commenced upon the whites on the north side of the 
Columbia by the Yakimas and others. In view of such an event, I 
have written to the commanding officer at The Dalles for a military 
force to escort you out of the country. You will, therefore, hold 
yourself in readiness to go on the arrival of such escort. Mean 
while, you will take such precautionary steps as seem to you best 
calculated to insure your safety until the arrival of said force. 

I do not deem it advisable to make a rush, all at once, to get out 
of the country, as it would cause an alarm among the Indians that 
might cause an immediate outbreak. 

Indian Agent. 

Two days later the following letter was sent to the com 
mander of the volunteer force supposed to be en route to 
the Walla Walla valley, where the dispatch was dated: 

November 14, 1855. 

SIB : However urgent and important the news I have to com 
municate, I almost despaired to dispatch any from want of hands 
who were willing to risk life at this critical time ; but Mr. McBean 
came to my assistance and offered the services of his son John, who, 
in company with another man, will be the bearer of this. The 
news is gloomy and very different from what I had reason to expect 
when I left The Dalles on my way hither. Serpent Jaune ( Peu-peu- 
mox-mox ) has shown his colors, and is a declared foe to the Ameri 
cans. He has taken possession of the fort and pillaged it, govern 
ment as well as Hudson s Bay Company s property; has placed 
himself on the south side of the Walla Walla river, on the hills, 
guarding the road with a force, it is said, of a thousand. 


The young men on the Umatilla river are disposed for war, and 
John Whitford and Tolman instigate them to it. The chiefs of that 
place, at least the majority of them, are on the balance, and have 
not yet decided; but Stockalah and Welaptelekt, with their people, 
have joined the Cay uses, and are doing all in their power to have 
them join against the Americans. The chiefs of this valley have 
remained firm and will not join the unfriendly Indians. Their con 
duct, since Mr. Olney s departure, has been praiseworthy, and did 
all they could to prevent Mr. Brooks 7 house from being burned and 
pillaged, but in vain. The chief, Howlish Wampool, did it at the 
risk of his life. 

Two Nez Perc6 chiefs now here, Joseph and Red Wolf, desire me 
to tell you that all their tribe is for peace; that they will suffer no 
hostile Indians to remain among them. In justice to Pierre (Walla 
Walla chief), I beg to say that he stuck to his charge until forced 
away by Serpent Jaune and his people, but not until they had robbed 
three different times out of the fort. He was alone, and, of course, 
could not prevent them. As affairs stand, it is my humble opinion 
that it might not be prudent to make your w r ay hither with the 
force at your command of one hundred and fifty men. I have re 
quested the bearers of this dispatch to proceed to The Dalles with 
the letters to the respective addresses of Messrs. Olney and Noble; 
and placed as we are, a mere handful of men, destitute of ammuni 
tion, the sooner assistance is tendered to us the better, for Serpent 
Jaune daily threatens to burn our houses and to kill us, and he is 
not the only enemy we have to dread. 

In haste, I remain, sir, respectfully, your obedient humble servant, 

The commander in charge coming to Fort Walla Walla. 

Such was the information sent by a French resident of 
Walla Walla valley, one of the settlers who had been 
warned by Agent Olney to leave the country as soon as 
an escort should be furnished them. To do so before would 
precipitate the Indians upon them in force, whereas while 
they kept quiet, the hostiles were kept within the bounds 
of robbery and arson. But that robbery and arson were 
the customary introduction to bloody warfare was too well 
understood to be disregarded. Nor would a force of one 
hundred and fifty men be a sufficient guard to remove the 
settlers in safety, or even to enter the country in safety. 
Yet, when this information reached The Dalles, there was 
not even that number of troops at this post, Major Rains 


having taken with him to the Yakima country all of his 
available force. Even when Major Fitzgerald, who had 
been ordered from Fort Lane had arrived, he added only 
fifty dragoons to the strength of the army in eastern 

Either protection must be denied the friendly chiefs, 
who kept the treaty and obeyed the agent, together with 
the French and American settlers, and their property, as 
well as the property of the United States Indian depart 
ment, and that of the Hudson s Bay Company, or assis 
tance must be immediately rendered. Also the country 
must be kept open so that not only Governor Stevens could 
return to his capital, but miners to their homes. 

These motives would have seemed sufficient for the gov 
ernor of Oregon to prompt him to call for the eight com 
panies, and that without being influenced by political 
demagoguery, if indeed politics can be kept out of any im 
portant movement by any government, whether national 
or territorial. It was objected by some that the war be 
longed to Washington and not to Oregon, which was true, 
but with modifying conditions. The northeast boundary 
of Oregon, it was often contended, should be the Snake 
river, and several attempts were made to have it include 
at least the whole Walla Walla valley, about half of which 
lay south of the boundary established by congress. .It 
was peopled by settlers from the Wallamet valley, and the 
improvements existing had been made by Oregon people. 
Again, the hostile Cay uses belonged to the Oregon super- 
intendency, their reservation being upon the Umatilla 
river, in Oregon. Thus, aside from any obligation towards 
Stevens on the score of courtesy and humanity, the gov 
ernor of Oregon was compelled to take notice of the de 
mand for assistance coming from that quarter. 

It was a point urged against the Oregon volunteers that 
they declined to be mustered into the service of the United 
States; but had they done so they would have been pre 
vented going to the relief of the country where their services 


were most required. It was also a point urged against 
Major Rains that he allowed himself to be commissioned 
brigadier-general of Washington territory by acting Gov 
ernor Mason, it being considered by Wool beneath the 
dignity of a United States officer to accept a commission 
from a territorial officer; though the rank of each was 
given by appointment from the general government; and 
although the commission was necessary to give the com 
mand of the Washington volunters to a major of the 
United States forces. Oregon had a brigadier-general of 
her own, and all the other officers necessary to a complete 
organization of her militia, with no motive for handing 
over the command to a United States major. 

On the tenth of October, Governor Curry wrote the fol 
lowing letter to his adjutant: 


October 10, 1855, 10 o clock P. M. 
General E. M. Barnum : 

DEAR GENERAL : I have just received information as follows, 
mostly from Humason : Major Haller, who went out one hundred 
men against the Yakimas, is in a critical position in the Simcoe val 
ley, being surrounded by some thousand hostile Indians. He had 
a fight with them and lost twelve men. They have him nicely 
"corralled." He pushed through in the nighttime an express to 
Major Bains for help. I understand the major has made a requisi 
tion on me for help. I have not received it, as it probably went to 
Salem. In the contingency that he has so called, or that the settle 
ments along the Columbia may be in danger for all the available 
force ( regular troops ) has gone to the assistance of Major Haller, 
and the settlements left without protection may be ail inducement 
to Indian incursion at any rate, will you do me the favor to come 
down and meet me at Portland. If I make a call it will be to ren 
dezvous opposite Portland, and I would wish your services to mus 
ter the men into service, that all may correctly appear of record, 
and not in the loose irregular manner that the business has been 
conducted heretofore. Let me refer you to Terry, who may have 
more news than I have given you. 

Haller has lost all his horses and provisions. You will readily 
perceive that this will embolden the Indians, and other tribes will 
join those already hostilely arrayed, and a protracted Indian war 
may not possibly be avoided. I should be pleased to see you with-